Inspiration

As a team, we drew from many resources in choosing and fleshing out this idea. Our biggest influence of all was Tesla and their push for automated vehicles. We collectively wanted to bring technology to life that would help humanity progress.

What it does

SmartPark is an automated parking software that can do everything from track and optimize parking garage space, to metering and collecting payments from customers; all without them ever having to leave their vehicles. By scanning vehicles' license plates we have removed the need for parking guards to collect payments. Users can connect their license plate with their app to track the time they've spent so far and how much they owe.

Here's why SmartPark is great for you (and your clients):

  • Convenience. Customers won't even need to stop - much less get out of their car or interact with parking guards - to enter your parking locations.
  • Automatic Payments: Our system scans license plates as drivers pull into a garage and begin metering their parking time. Being able to pay from a phone means you'll never need to bring change again. It also means you can make the most out of the money you are making from your garages.
  • Optimization: Our software allows for you to take advantage of you limited space by using our database to track the number of vehicles parked in real time. This information can help you cycle tourists and clients during events.
  • Increased Safety and Security: Parking technology isn't just limited to garages. Often, apartment complexes and gated communities use license information for knowing who you are. SmartPark can integrate seamlessly with these systems to help you get home faster.
  • Easy to Understand User Interface: We made it a point to expand user experience, without wasting your time.
  • Saving You Money: By charging you per minute, we've reduced over-paying for meter and parking garage time. Now you _ only _ pay for the time you use.
  • No more parking tickets!

How we built it

SmartPark was designed and prototyped during HackFSU in Tallahassee. In the span of 24 of our 30 hours we developed code to recognize license plates and tie that information into a database of clients. We leveraged the license plate recognition aspects of openALRP on a cloud 9 server to field our ideas.

Challenges we ran into

Our biggest challenge by far was actually getting the openALRP API working on our server. For one reason or another, the bindings for node.js (and every other language for that matter) simply didn't work. However, we found a workaround by running the command line arguments through the server console via JavaScript. We then parsed the CMD output and used the confidence ratings to return a string of the vehicles' plates.

The plate strings, time in, time out, and first and last name were stored/retrieved in a local database for each parking location. The information could then be iterated over and displayed to both the vehicle and parking location owners.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We collectively stood up and screamed when we got the recognition workaround running (much to the fright of the other hackers). We were only 4 hours in when that code was running. So we felt really good about how we could use the rest of our time. In the end, we had enough time to make it look good and run well and that's all we could've asked for.

What we learned

The learning experiences we gained in finding workarounds was most likely the biggest thing for us. But experience in node.js, socket.io, and UX design will prove to be useful as well.

What's next for SmartPark

We believe in this technology. We find it very likely that this integration will help to usher in the next huge step in driverless cars: driverless valet. This technology would allow for a car to drop its owner off, navigate to a parking garage on its own, and park/pay for itself. Then when you're done the car leaves and picks you up. All without any needing to carry change or interact with a payment machine.

We think this kind of technology will make a smart future for us all.

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