Parking capacity is becoming increasingly scarce and the search for an available parking space for the car already costs a lot of time and nerves in most cities. Smart Parking solutions with which free parking spaces can be found, managed and shared provide a remedy. Perfect basis for their development is the CARRIDA SDK engine for automatic license plate recognition (ALPR). Based on this software, the Swiss company Inspectron AG has developed Park-Meister, a prototype for intelligent parking signs. They enable the flexible allocation of parking spaces via a reservation system and can be used without barriers. This saves space and costs during setup and operation.
The Parking Space Knows If It Is Free—and Who Is Allowed to Park
The principle is as simple as it is sophisticated: one of the smart parking signs is located at each parking space. A camera detects whether the parking space is free or occupied. The electronics report the status to a connected booking system in the cloud. Users can find and reserve free parking spaces via the portal. The sign's display in turn shows whether the parking space is currently reserved and for whom. When a vehicle drives into the parking space, a laser sensor activates the camera. From its image data, the CARRIDA LPR software recognizes and reads the license plate and passes the information on to the booking system. Here, a comparison of the data takes place and direct feedback can be given via the display, for example, a friendly hint that the parking space is reserved for another vehicle.
Numerous Possible Applications
"Our Park-Meister can do much more and be used in a completely flexible manner," explains Reinhard Geuze, Technical Director at Inspectron AG. "Neighboring companies, for example, can share parking spaces or make them available to the public when not in use. They can also greet and direct visitors with personalized messages. The booking system can also be used to notify the companies' reception of a guest's arrival."
Other possible applications are equally conceivable, for example, safe and guaranteed parking and rest areas for trucks. Here, on the one hand, parking spaces can be booked in advance by the hour and are then available on a reserved basis. On the other hand, transport companies can receive feedback on the arrival of their vehicles. This increases safety for drivers and cargo and enables compliance with prescribed rest periods.
Sustainable, Independent and Deployable Anywhere
The Park-Meister's electronics are housed in a waterproof casing and can be powered by solar cells. This makes the intelligent parking signs as sustainable as they are self-sufficient. A GSM module ensures secure data transmission if a cable connection is not possible. Thanks to its flexible design, the Park-Meister can also be easily and quickly retrofitted to existing parking lots. Barriers at parking lots and complex systems for controlling access are not necessary. This makes the solution cost-effective for parking lot operators. In addition, the maintenance effort for barrier systems is eliminated.
Heart of the Park-Meister: The CARRIDA SDK LPR Software
Implemented on the Park-Meister electronics is the CARRIDA SDK LPR software library. "We chose CARRIDA's software because of its high reliability in license plate recognition and ease of installation," says development manager Reinhard Geuze. "The software runs on any platform, from smart edge devices to PC and server applications in conjunction with traditional IP, USB or GigE cameras. This allows us to easily and quickly customize Park-Meister for OEM manufacturers or integration into complex systems. Besides the performance, we were convinced by the perfect CARRIDA service around the deployment of the solution. We are successfully using the solution in Switzerland and plan to launch it internationally."
On the current prototypes, the software runs on a Raspberry Pi 4, whose use is also intended for a series version of the Park Meister. CARRIDA also offers its own ALPR Edge devices, which combine image acquisition and onboard data processing on an ultra-compact device.
Fast and Reliable Reading Results
The CARRIDA SDK Engine recognizes and processes license plates from all countries worldwide, including special formats such as two-line license plates. It also reliably recognizes damaged or bent license plates. The software runs hardware-independently on any end device and can also be used with conventional IP, USB or GigE cameras. Thanks to the software's high degree of optimization, the reading results are available within a very short time. This enables immediate feedback when entering a parking lot. In addition to parking applications, the CARRIDA SDK can also be used for other applications in the areas of traffic management, toll collection, law enforcement and smart cities. Depending on the hardware used, it also provides automatic and deep-learning based recognition of car make and model and other data. This enables parking operators and traffic managers to obtain detailed statistics on customers and traffic.
CARRIDA Technologies is a provider of ALPR/ANPR/OCR software solutions for access control, parking, fleet management, smart cities, traffic management, safety, security, law enforcement and tolling. As a one-stop-shop CARRIDA offers end to end solutions for the ALPR industry covering the complete value chain.
CARRIDA Technologies is a joint venture of the two companies Vision Components (Ettlingen/Karlsruhe in Germany) and SL Solutions (Graz in Austria). The company was founded in 2017.