Inspiration

Let's face it, parking is a nightmare. Sitting in traffic is only half the battle; the other is fighting other people trying to get a parking spot.

That's where our app parqeez (pronounced park-eze) comes in. We aim to automate the parking industry by providing a convenient app that helps drivers find parking and buy permits, all while having to never get out of their cars.

Being college students, painful memories of being late to class because of the lack of parking was one of the strongest motivators behind this application.

Don't just park, parqeez.

What it does

  • Detects parking lots near the user's current location.
  • Finds what spots are currently available.
  • Allows user to purchase a parking permit through the app.
  • User's card automatically gets charged once the car pulls out of the parking spot.
  • Parking lot owners (public and private) can set various parameters, such as payment grace period, maximum parking time, and parking rate per hour.
  • Notifies users when maximum parking time is near.
  • Notifies city officials if car is parked past the parking deadline for a significant amount of time.

How we built it

Back-End

The back-end is powered by Firebase. A Node.js application pulls from GE's CityIQ API and feeds relevant parking lot data into Firebase. Every time a new parking event is detected, the application will update the database entries accordingly.

We opted for this design because there is a lot of information available on the API and we wanted to pull only what we needed in order to achieve our functionality.

Front-End

The front-end is written in Swift and therefore only supports iOS at the moment. The iOS application reads the parking data inside Firebase and notifies the user accordingly should there be any parking changes, maximum time is almost reached, etc.

To keep things modularized, the iOS application does not communicate with the CityIQ API.

Challenges we ran into

This hackathon was definitely more challenging, especially with the shorter amount of time to hack (just 1 night). So logically, time was definitely an issue here. There were some features that we wanted to implement, but had to push back due to time constraints.

The sensors we also used for our hardware simulation were pretty cheap, so they would randomly fire, causing unpredictability during our tests.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

In the end, we're glad that we were able to develop a functional proof of concept.

What's next for parqeez

Some much needed sleep.

We also anticipate adding additional features, such as:

  • Parking spot reservations for an increased fee.
  • Additional motion sensing hardware to improve accuracy of car detection by CityIQ streetlight nodes.
  • Account creation (a single session is created as of now).
  • Apple Pay integration.
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