New parking gadget to find available spaces in the works

A group of investigators at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) have created a device that sends information about the nearest available parking space through the Internet.

CNA / Laura Pous

July 7, 2010 09:28 PM

Barcelona (CNA).- Busy cities such as Barcelona are usually a nightmare for drivers looking for available parking spaces. With this in mind, a group of researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, in collaboration with the company WorldSensing and the Technological Centre for Telecommunications of Catalonia, have designed a device that can detect through the Internet the location of available parking spaces in the area. The gadget could help to avoid the emission of about 400 tons of carbon dioxide in Barcelona alone.

The system works with a mechanism incorporated below the city’s parking spaces that detects whether the area is occupied by a car or not. If the space is available, the system remits the information to a central receiver that afterwards sends the message through the Internet to the driver.

“The data then can be transmitted to a GPS device, a mobile phone or a web page”, said Ignasi Vilajosana, manager of WorldSensing. Vilajosana explained that the main aim of the gadget is “to make life easier for citizens by improving road traffic”. This invention will also help to tackle climate change because it can save up to 400 tons of carbon dioxide emission in Barcelona, as cars would be spending less time looking for a free space.

The project has cost 400,000 euros, and researchers expect every device to be around 170 euros. However, Vilajosana said that it is a worthy investment considering the benefits. The system could be introduced especially to organise street parking spaces that are subject to a fee.

A pilot test is currently being tried in a parking area at the UAB. Several local councils in Catalonia, such as Barcelona, Mataró and Sant Cugat have already shown an interest in the device.