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Revhead Ramblings: The Future of Parking

Driving is changing at a frightening pace, we’ve advanced more in the past 10 years than we have 100 years. These changes are great, our cars are becoming faster, safer and smarter. But with all this technology on offer, why hasn’t our infrastructure improved too?

Our roads are horrendous, but that’s a topic for another day, our car parks though, are immensely primitive. Parking is a $30+ billion industry, yet it’s received little in terms of technology. The way in which we park has changed, our cars are now more capable in tight spaces than we are, yet the places we leave them haven’t evolved in the slightest; seeing as cars, and therefore parking, isn’t going away, it’s time we update this practise considerably.

Smart Parking Meters

I can’t remember the last time I had change in my pocket, my debit card doesn’t leave my side, but if I’m somehow without my wallet my phone acts as a suitable backup. So why do parking meters still require an awkward amount of coins? Contactless meters are starting to crop up now, but they’re the most infuriating machines in the world!

Firstly, they require your registration, which is obviously a money-making scheme so you can no longer exchange tickets with time remaining on them. I know my number plate off by heart, but it always takes the doddering elderly couple ahead of me three trips to get the seven characters inputted correctly. When it’s finally my turn to pay, I make use of the contactless feature where I can, however it then takes an eternity for the machine to authenticate my payment! If the system is flawed why install it?

How hard would it be to link our bank accounts to our cars? Simply drive into a car park, pick your space and walk off. There’s no waiting for a ticket, you don’t need an attendant to check the tickets and I don’t have to worry about stupid loose change!

Robotic Valets

These little robots aren’t too far away, Germany’s Serva Transport have developed a robot that lifts your car and transports it to a pre-designated spot. No more worrying about who you’ve just handed your keys to, you simply book your car in via an app, go to a nearby touchscreen to confirm the car is empty and the robot does the rest.

The company also claims the little robot can park cars 60% more efficiently than a human driver as it measures both the cars width and height to place it in the perfect spot. This method is excellent for airports, people are often in a rush to catch their flights, so the convenience of leaving their car at the front door would be very appealing. People may be concerned with the thought of something without a pulse moving their cars after recent events with autonomous vehicles, however the roads and car parks around airports are rarely congested so there shouldn’t be too much to go wrong!

Car Vending Machines

Our current high-rise car parks take up a huge amount of real-estate in our cities. When you consider their size though, they don’t hold that many cars. If you remove humans from the equation, you can also remove ramps, stairs, driving lanes, room to open and close doors and significant amounts of concrete and metal between each level. So instead of parking your car and walking out, you drive your car into a room and on to robotic dollies, these dollies will measure your car and take it to the perfect sized parking space. This means cars can be packed tighter together as no one is entering or leaving them, you don’t drive into the space, so no room is taken up by access roads or ramps and you eliminate the risk of crashes as the cars are fixed in their positions.

The future of parking is bright, if you look towards Asia, their smart cities have already implemented some of this technology, they’ve ditched the conventional concrete tombs and swapped them out for automated glass vending machines instead. The future of parking may not sound that exciting, but imagine no more loose change for parking meters, no more infuriating hit and run scrapes in the car park and never driving in circles again searching for that elusive space!

To ensure you don’t miss out on any of Alex’s ‘Revhead Ramblings‘ be sure to follow him on Twitter at @AlexClickDealer!

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