Inspiration: We decided to tackle an issue close to home. We’re from Toronto where parking is a big problem. We thought that this would be a good idea because it is an everyday problem and solving it would benefit a large demographic of people. As people who live in a fast-paced environment, there is always something to do. A solution to the parking problem will allow us to make better use of our time as we will not be spending time looking for parking.
Product Function: This project aims to make the parking process easier and more efficient to allow people to make better use of their time. We hope to minimize parking frustration and to keep people from getting parking tickets.
Building Process: After the brainstorming of many ideas, we chose this particular idea and built a miniature prototype of a more convenient parking lot. We gathered a majority of the components and materials such as 2 Arduino kits, sensor kit, foam boards, toy cars, glue, construction paper and so on. We used one Arduino microprocessor with one breadboard for the sensors and the LEDs (senses the presence of a car and switches the color of the light). We used the other Arduino and breadboard for the LCD counter, the servo motors for the entrance and exit and for the buttons for the servo motors. We wired them accordingly to fit the circuit board. In the end, we also added an NFC Tag to obtain a notification on our phones for where the parking spot is or where the nearest available parking lot is. We also made boxes for servo motors and a physical parking lot structure to enclose the components and cars to replicate the scenario.
Challenges: We faced various challenges, some we were able to solve and for some, we were able to make a compromise. One of the first problems we faced was that the first set of cars that we bought were too small to be picked up by the sensors. To solve this we bought bigger cars. After buying bigger cars we realized that the cars were still slightly too small. This was fixed by gluing a piece of cardstock to the front of the car. Another problem we faced was that the motion sensors were too sensitive for our purposes. The motions sensors to fix this we limited the range of the sensors to 3 meters. Unfortunately, the sensor remained super sensitive. The last problem we faced was a lack of supplies. There was a lack of ultrasonic sensors, wires etc.
Accomplishments: Through this project, we managed to build a functional parking lot that is conducive to the needs of car users. We consider this an accomplishment because we were able to work as a team to combine, software development, hardware development, and design to create a project that solves a problem.
Learning Process: The execution of this project has allowed us to advance our hardware development, software development, and design skills as a team. We have each learned a little more about each topic.
Next Steps: In the future, we hope to be able to include NFC tag support in order to obtain a live location map of where we are in order to make it easier to navigate and find parking lots based on their capacity.