Mike Waters' blog: 13 May 2014 - Space for technology
13 May 2014
Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company
A new international report has been published which looks at intelligent ways of making it easier to find a parking space.
Struggling to find a space is one of the great frustrations of driving and with a growing number of vehicles on the road, it's not going to get any better.
Called Smart Parking for Smarter Cities, Beecham Research has conducted trials in cities around the world, including Birmingham in the UK.
They involve using road-mounted sensors in busy shopping centres and equipping drivers with smartphone apps, which access data collected from these sensors.
The result is a live map of where the spaces are so that motorists can find them quickly and easily.
This approach delivers clear benefits - for the driver it saves them time, hassle, stress and reduces fuel consumption by eliminating the need to drive aimlessly looking for a space.
For retailers and councils it makes it easier for visitors to get to local shops and businesses. The vehicle manufacturers also see the benefits and it is likely that this feature will be available from their in-car displays in the near future.
The aspect of this report that's really interesting to me is that this is another example of how smartphone technology can provide effective solutions for drivers. It must of course be used safely because we don't want to promote another in-car distraction, but where this is the case, there is great value.
As smartphone penetration grows and people become more used to downloading apps to solve their problems, it provides great possibilities to enhance the driving experience.
I can see a clear trend emerging, and as long as the app functionality is useful, expect to see a boom in this area over the next few years.