The Camera Aided Parking System was conceived to help drivers find free parking places on any parking lot as fast as possible.
Finding a free place to park your car can be a tedious task. This is true especially during shopping seasons such as Christmas. The problem is also common on business buildings parking lots that have several floors.
Many parking lots have displays that show how many free places are still available on a particular floor so that you don’t even need to enter it if there is no more space available. The problem is that this number is estimated or it requires someone to personally check how many free places are available. Needless to say, most of the time, the figures shown are not accurate. Some parking lots have started to install sensors on each parking place so as to present an exact number. Most of them haven't finished installing all the sensors, an expensive and time consuming venture.
Here is how the proposed system works:
1 - A video camera periodically records images of the parking lot. Already installed surveillance cameras may be used.
2 - A processing unit that “understands” the image determines where are the free places and chooses which ones are the best. The best ones may the closest to the building entrance, for example.
3 - A display tells the driver if there are any free places on that particular floor or area of the parking lot. Optionally, it may also instruct the drivers how to get there.
Those are among the many advantages of this system:
- Especially suited for indoor parking lots with several - floors.
- Can be easily installed on any parking lot with minimum effort and cost.
- Makes use of already installed cameras and displays.
- Suitable for shopping centers and malls as well as office buildings.
A more advanced version of this system would transmit turn by turn directions to each car through a radio link. The directions would appear in the form of arrows and audio instructions on the car’s GPS screen.
Further studies are needed to determine what type of radio link will be used (FM, GPRS) and how the system would broadcast different directions to each car, so that each one is sent to its designated place.]
The Camera Aided Parking System is a simple idea and mainly a showcase of the possibilities made real by computer vision systems applied to traffic in big cities. The basic concept is to gather traffic images through the use of cameras, process those images and transform them into information that can be used to solve traffic problems. Other possible uses of this technology include:
- Determine traffic bottlenecks and instruct drivers to take alternate routes.
- Find traffic patterns to help determine improvements on the city traffic network.
- Analyse traffic in real-time and control traffic lights to improve flow.
- Determine traffic density without the need to install sensors on the streets.