Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

French Use Space Tech To Find Parking Spots

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the arguments-nasa-can-use dept.

Space 112

itwbennett writes "Using technology developed by French space agency CNES (Centre Nationale d'Etudes Spatiales) to explore the planet Venus, drivers in the city of Toulouse are discovering something much more down-to-earth: vacant parking spots. The system is based on 3,000 sensors buried just under the pavement that detect changes in the electromagnetic environment around them and communicate the results via coaxial cable to a server, which makes the information available in real time to drivers' smartphones."

cancel ×

112 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Driving with smartphones? (4, Interesting)

Scryer (60692) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749684)

I wonder whether Toulouse has laws against using your smartphone while driving -- this could be a nice income source for the municipality as well, staking out the parking spots with hidden cameras!

Re:Driving with smartphones? (4, Funny)

metalmonkey (1083851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750222)

Simple solution, find park first then use smartphone to search for a park.

Re:Driving with smartphones? (2)

chgros (690878) | more than 3 years ago | (#34751022)

France has had a ban on driving with a cell phone in hand for a while now.

Re:Driving with smartphones? (1)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34751672)

I live in Toulouse. You wouldn't know there is a ban on using cell phones while driving solely by observing the drivers...

Re:Driving with smartphones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34752010)

You wouldn't learn a lot of things about good driving solely by observing the drivers in Toulouse.
And I'm counting myself in this group.

SOUNDS LIKE THE FRENCH !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34749686)

Always doing things the hard way, AND FAILING !!

Silly Drivers, Trix are for Kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34749724)

What about those guys that take two (or more) spots?

Re:Silly Drivers, Trix are for Kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34749746)

They hire the guy in the black hat from xkcd.

Re:Silly Drivers, Trix are for Kids (3)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750934)

Re:Silly Drivers, Trix are for Kids (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34751544)

In theory, a business would contract a towing company to promptly evacuate and impound any bad parkers. This would give the business a no nonsense reputation that would earn respect.

In practice, tolerating temporary bad parking may be a necessary evil on account of how much leverage a disgruntled driver can hold sway over the bottom line, so being a paying customer may well be grounds enough to demand the perk of being allowed to park screwy.

Ditto in Chicago, But Less French (2, Funny)

moehoward (668736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749750)

We have the same thing at some commuter train parking lots in the Chicago area. Between two lots I know of, they combine for over 3,000 spots. And we didn't need freakin' NASA to create the technology

Ours are better here because they are not so outrageously French.

Re:Ditto in Chicago, But Less French (1)

the_cosmocat (1009803) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752080)

Saying that last sentence makes you so outrageously American :)

Re:Ditto in Chicago, But Less French (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754778)

Yeah, BWI has technology like this in the hourly garage, there are sensors above the parking spots that relay to a server that then displays the number of spots on each level and row that are available. Putting the program on a smartphone seems like the ultimate in ludicrous, I like having the numbers displayed on overhead signs as it allows you to not take your eyes off the road and pay attention to your driving. Plus, are smartphones really that common that everyone has them? Last I checked that is still at least 10 years off.

Exploring Venus (4, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749768)

So the plan is to explore Venus by burying sensors around the planet and detecting when something parks on top of them?

At least the pioneers will be able to locate a parking spot quickly!

Re:Exploring Venus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34749940)

Seriously - this would be a MUCH cooler post if they were overloading satellites to image parking lots and overlay google maps to tell me where there are vacant spots!

Re:Exploring Venus (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750190)

That's what I thought when I read the headline. An Ion Cannon to blast cars that have overstayed their allotted time would be good too. No invasion of privacy then either - you can remain anonymous while you are blasted from space!

Re:Exploring Venus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34749948)

I've been there. It's like their version of Norfolk, VA, with all the trappings for sailors. Why can't they use this tech on a city that people actually want to visit...unless the french are into whores and drugs. Like your garden variety sailor (but not me, I've always been clean).

Re:Exploring Venus (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750390)

So the plan is to explore Venus by burying sensors around the planet and detecting when something parks on top of them?

At least the pioneers will be able to locate a parking spot quickly!

I think I know why they grounded the "Venus gig".
Can you imagine a connection Earth-Venus with coax cable to the server and the number of tower cells they need to build on Venus in the first place? Granted, "roaming fees" would probably be... well, astonomical... but not so many prospective customers, I think the ROI figures would have been abysmally low.

Can they try using it to find razors? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34749796)

Then they can shave those bushes. Alternatively, use it to find a backbone.

Re:Can they try using it to find razors? (4, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749822)

You made a joke about the French being cowards and their women having too much hair! Hahahahahaha! That is both clever and original sir, i salute you! The only thing I can't understand is why you posted anonymously and denied yourself credit for such hilarity!

Re:Can they try using it to find razors? (3, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750180)

If he wanted credit, he'd post with his username and call Americans fat and stupid. Modded +5 in no time.

Re:Can they try using it to find razors? (3, Funny)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750364)

If he wanted credit, he'd post with his username and call Americans fat and stupid. Modded +5 in no time.

I may be fat and stupid, but you

Re:Can they try using it to find razors? (2)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750742)

If he wanted credit, he'd post with his username and call Americans fat and stupid. Modded +5 in no time.

Yes, but as an american he's too fat and stupid to realize that.

Re:Can they try using it to find razors? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34750258)

As an Anonymous Coward American, I want to say that not all of us have forgotten the debt we owe to Lafayette.

Re:Can they try using it to find razors? (1)

jalet (36114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750746)

> not all of us have forgotten the debt we owe to Lafayette.

Sure ! Without him you would probably all still speak english.

Re:Can they try using it to find razors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34750768)

This is true. Were it not for the French help, Americans would still be speaking English.

Re:Can they try using it to find razors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34750318)

People who repeat that meme on the internet would likely crap their pants if they met a French soldier or woman in real life.

Re:Can they try using it to find razors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34751774)

Wait, France has soldiers???? Hmm, would have never guessed!

Re:Can they try using it to find razors? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754946)

They have guns too, only dropped twice, never fired. Being descended from the French, I feel quite alright making jokes, laughing is the best medicine after all.

Re:Can they try using it to find razors? (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755542)

Yup. And they held on to Vietnam (French Indochina) for much longer than the US did.

Re:Can they try using it to find razors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34750892)

Then they can shave those bushes. Alternatively, use it to find a backbone.

Speak for yourself, I don't care if this woman shaves or not:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVtikv8GK5g

Interesting, (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749802)

3000 sensors deployed used to monitor 15000 parking spaces... It would be interesting to find out how such buried sensors could do that.

Bad Article or Worst System Ever? (4, Interesting)

Leuf (918654) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749924)

"The 3,000 sensors, buried about nine inches apart, are able to pinpoint open parking spots within 980 feet"

Something doesn't seem right about that.

Re:Bad Article or Worst System Ever? (3, Funny)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750118)

They're very small parking spaces. Ever seen a French car?

Re:Bad Article or Worst System Ever? (2)

Fry-kun (619632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750128)

If I understand TFA correctly, these sensors act as a radar, except they analyze EM fields (which are distorted by metal cars) within the working radius

Re:Bad Article or Worst System Ever? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752736)

Could this be used to monitor traffic flow too?

I have been thinking about how to implement an open source traffic monitoring system. The idea is that people can set one up at home and monitor the traffic outside, generating data that can be used by smart phones and web sites to show areas of congestion. At the moment we only get traffic flow data for major roads in the UK, but I noticed that in Japan they have data for main roads in cities as well.

Since we can't dig up the road I was thinking of using a webcam in a window and some image processing to determine average speed and frequency. Surprisingly there is nothing out there that does that in the open source world, although Intel's open image processing framework looks like it could do it.

Re:Bad Article or Worst System Ever? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750220)

If you follow the link in TFA to the graphic you see that the sensors are placed in the parking lane at the side of the street and have a sensor every 9 inches (overkill).

So something is way off with the story or the graphic, because 3000 sensors spaced 9 inches apart cover less than half a linear mile.

Re:Bad Article or Worst System Ever? (2)

jeyk (570728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752178)

There seems to be some confusion because TFA doesn't cite its source [spiegel.de] correctly (emphasis mine).

A field test conducted outside the building located at 82 Boulevard Lascrosses demonstrates how the system will function. Here, sensors have been placed just below the surface of the road under half a dozen parking spaces. The high-tech probes, which are mounted 25 centimeters (9 inches) apart on a coaxial cable a hand's width under the bitumen

[...]

The information gathered is sent to a server, which can keep track of around 2,500 to 3,000 sensors.

So,

  • there are only a few sensors buried at this time.
  • The server they use can keep track of about 3,000 sensors.
  • In the future they will be able to monitor all 15,000 parking spots.

Re:Bad Article or Worst System Ever? (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752412)

I always love it when approximate numbers are translated to high precision numbers in different units :-)
300 meters is 984 feet, which they rounded to 980...

Hey (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752768)

3,000 French sensors can't be wrong!

Same in SF (5, Interesting)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749832)

We have a similar system in San Francisco:
http://sfpark.org/how-it-works/ [sfpark.org]

Re:Same in SF (2)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750196)

But that requires one sensor for each parking spot, while this monitors changes in the electromagnetic environment to locate free spots further away as well. One sensor can take care of multiple spots.

Re:Same in SF (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750266)

But that requires one sensor for each parking spot...

Sorry, wrong. It requires two.

Re:Same in SF (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752888)

> Sorry, wrong. It requires two.

Whereas this French system puportedly requires one every nine inches.

Re:Same in SF (1)

Ptur (866963) | more than 3 years ago | (#34751916)

yes, and I have also seen this at work in the parking garage of the main railway station of Innsbruck (Austria), almost two years ago.

Maybe the French 'researchers' went on holiday and just copied ideas? This certainly is not NEWS to me....

Re:Same in SF (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752404)

They used space technology to fly to San Francisco and then copy the system in Toulouse.

old news (3, Interesting)

redfood (471234) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749848)

They have had something like this at BWI for years. Even better - you don't have to look at your phone while driving. There are red and green lights marking open spots and the number of free spaces listed at the head of each row.

Similarly, the parking structure at the Grove in LA lists the number of free spaces per floor.

Re:old news (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749966)

They have a similar system (with the lights) at a major shopping center here in Australia. Arrows on the ceiling indicate "dont go this way, no free parks" or "go this way, x parking spots free" and direct people to the nearest free space. Also has special indicators for wheelchair parking spots.

Re:old news (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750436)

They have had something like this at BWI for years. Even better - you don't have to look at your phone while driving. There are red and green lights marking open spots and the number of free spaces listed at the head of each row.

Similarly, the parking structure at the Grove in LA lists the number of free spaces per floor.

Hell, yeah... but was it developed originally for Venus exploration? Ehh?

Re:old news (2)

pmontra (738736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34751712)

The French system finds parking spots on the streets, not in car parks. It's a different and IMHO a much harder problem.

Re:old news (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34751802)

Sensors are sensors, what is so much harder about were they are buried?

Re:old news (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34751808)

whoops. should read "where"

Re:old news (1)

theun4gven (1024069) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754910)

Sensors are sensors, what is so much harder about were they are buried?

If you have a block on a street that allows parallel parking but has no lines for specific spaces how do you determine if there is enough space available between cars for another car to park? This method allows for that. If you have a space that can fit three small cars or two large trucks you can't have a sensor for each individual spot since the parking situation is dynamic.

Re:old news (1)

J_McFly (1905760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752606)

The system has been in the garage for years, but the summary board always seems to display a high number for available spaces vs what you'll actually find on that level. I won't try to park on a level if the number's less than 250 as I'll have to hunt forever for a spot.

Re:old news (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752672)

But it does not involve usage of wireless technologies, smartphones, data plans, and other expensive personal gadgets and communication technologies that bring so much cash to our battling economy! And it's not hip!

Yeah, Right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34749868)

I don't buy it for a minute. If it was really about "reducing pollution" they wouldn't be going after "illegal long term parkers" because after all a car that is turned off generates no exhaust fumes. This is just another revenue ploy.

Re:Yeah, Right! (2)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750166)

I don't buy it for a minute. If it was really about "reducing pollution" they wouldn't be going after "illegal long term parkers" because after all a car that is turned off generates no exhaust fumes. This is just another revenue ploy.

A car that blocks a parking lot for a week forces dozens of short term parkers to search another five minutes for another lot.

Re:Yeah, Right! (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34751816)

Still does make sense. If the car moves, then the spot is taken for a time, then another would take it, and so on. Sounds like they just need some parking meters and meter maids.

Re:Yeah, Right! (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753730)

Yeah, this is just an excuse for the government to have another electronic “eye” watching you all the frigging time.

The goal isn’t to eliminate wrongdoers, the goal is to monetize them more efficiently. If wrongdoers were eliminated, they wouldn’t make any money off parking tickets. It’s just the same argument as the red-light cameras, which my city has had for a while and is currently considering moving them to new intersections because hardly anyone runs the cameras any more. Mission accomplished – wait, these aren’t making any more money... problem? Only if your goal was to make money.

Of course if they move them, I’m sure the previously-monitored intersections will pretty quickly return to exactly as they were before the cameras were installed. If the goal is to cut down on T-bone accidents caused by red-light runners at intersections that are identified as particularly bad for this sort of thing, the cameras need to stay at those intersections, yeah? Moving the cameras to less-bad intersections simply to generate more revenue could actually result in people getting killed. Priorities? You bet.

Eshoptop.net is a service offered by XinJunTuo Ltd (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34749880)

Game Accessories [eshoptop.net] are sold like hot cakes!
Do you need PSP 64MB memory cards? wii gun and other wii items? We can supply that kind of hot selling game products [eshoptop.net] . It's no doubt that we can help you of larger market share of this kinds of products as we are specialist in it.We are your best choice. Please be confident of our mutual benefit and bright business future !

Insanity (1)

stu72 (96650) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749896)

Parking spots in most cities in the world are scarce because they are priced well below what they are worth. By letting demand set the price (i.e. raise it dramatically) you deal with several problems all in one fell swoop:
- parking unavailability
- people polluting the air and causing congestion endlessly circling for a cheap/free spot
- enforcement of time limits currently in place for free spots
- using space age technology to detect free spaces

The tech sounds neat but it's just over-complicating an already over-complicated situation.

Re:Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34749932)

No, parking spots in most cities of the world are scarce because *far* more people drive than was projected 30 years ago.

higher price, or lower time. (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750030)

disclaimer : I'm a municipal elected official, and we just had the local planning board (which covers two counties) for a parking study.

The trick is, you want to have open parking spaces, because open spaces mean that people can use the shops, but you don't want to make it so that people park for too long in the prime spots. So, you have to go to tiered pricing with different time limits:

  • parking lot, a few blocks from the city center : unlimited time, cheap rates
  • on street, a couple blocks from the city center : 2-4 hr limit, moderately priced
  • on street, in the city center : 1-2 hr limit, higher prices

Sometimes you don't need to raise prices, you just need to lower the time limit ... we've got a few shop owners who park their vehicles on main street as there's 2 hour meters with no limit on time ... but I'm guessing they'd be less likely to hog those spots if they had to go out every hour to feed the meters, even if the rates per hour were the same.

Re:higher price, or lower time. (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750416)

but I'm guessing they'd be less likely to hog those spots if they had to go out every hour to feed the meters, even if the rates per hour were the same.

Hell, make it every 20 minutes. If you need to park on the street, then you need to go to one store and then leave. If you're going "shopping" then you need to park further away.

Re:higher price, or lower time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34752244)

Of course some cities have managed to kill almost all their downtown business because parking is actually worth less than the metered rate. Even if it's cheap. (If you can pick from a dozen big box stores and countless shopping centers with free parking and all the towns nearby have free parking...) If they'd completely get rid of the meters and make parking free, enforce a 2hr limit, and perhaps bump the sales tax up 1%, it would serve well to bring business back downtown and they'd make more than what they are now.

I live in the 9th largest city in Illinois by population, and they still haven't figured this one out. (Just because Chicago has everything going to demand exorbitant parking rates, doesn't mean a city 40mi away can demand anything for it's parking.)

Re:Insanity (1)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | more than 3 years ago | (#34751374)

Well, except that parking spots are not the end-item that the city is trying to sell. What the parking spot provides is convenient access to nearby restaurants, shops, music halls, etc., where people spend real money. The parking spot is worthless without those things, so it should be priced only so high as to allow most people to get to those things without feeling ripped off and avoiding the area in the future. Jack up parking spot rates in an urban shopping district, and suddenly maybe a trip to the 'burbs and the gigantic shopping mall with a gigantic, free parking lot may look more attractive, and then the city loses probably much more revenue. The free market works both ways.

In scenic Heidelberg ... (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749906)

... the parking lots have displays showing how many spots are still free. When you drive in and get your ticket, the number is decremented. When you drive out, putting the paid ticket back into the machine, it gets incremented. Very simple and effective. However, you need to be physically close to the parking lot to see the display. But I'm not sure if I want a bunch of folks fiddling with their smart phones, while trying to drive as well.

Re:In scenic Heidelberg ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34750260)

That's great and I think should work just fine for parking garages.

But if you've ever witnessed parking behavior in major U.S. cities' parking lots, you'd know that they would happily circle the parking lot three times just to happen upon a spot that's 50 meters closer to where they need to be than the wide open parking spaces on the other side of the parking lot.

Numbers are great when you just need to know whether a space is available and just how hard you're going to have to look for it (3 spaces in a garage fitting 200 cars) - maps are much better if you would also like to know just -where- that parking space is.

Even better would be a live view of those spots (the security cameras are probably already in place anyway) so that you can tell whether some Dodge RAM is actually taking up a space and a quart and there's no way you would fit into the allegedly open space unless you yourself drive a Mini.

Re:In scenic Heidelberg ... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753810)

It would be easy enough to design a system that assigned your car a numbered spot. That way you could hit a single button (compact car / van) and know immediately (a) how to find your assigned parking spot (b) which you’d fit in, e.g. no vans parked on ends of rows, and (c) it’s more-or-less the most efficient parking spot (e.g. the computer prioritizes lower levels and spots near elevators). Reserved parking places would be immensely easy to handle, too (just have the computer handle it, and they can swipe a card to get their spot).

Then everyone just leaves the ticket on the dash and have an attendant who walks around periodically and puts parking tickets on cars that are parked in spots where they shouldn’t be, or don’t have their ticket on the dash. Happens enough times or they don’t pay the fine, and they get a boot on their tire.

Re:In scenic Heidelberg ... (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750406)

That system of counting entries and exits is quite common for closed parking lots, and many towns in the UK have signs on major roads approaching the town centre with a list of parking lots and spaces available, so you don't need to be physically close. Also in Singapore they broadcast this info over TMC, so your satnav can direct you to a parking building with spaces available. The innovation here seems to be applying it to roadside parking, where there is no control of vehicles entering and exiting the parking area.

Re:In scenic Heidelberg ... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752722)

In a lot of cities in the UK, the road signs directing people to the main car parks have vacancy numbers. It helps a lot.

Vacant Parking Detected! (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749908)

Step on it Pierre, no time Toulouse!

Re:Vacant Parking Detected! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34750826)

Kill yourself.

Coming soon to Toulouse (2)

PotatoFiend (1330299) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749950)

DDoP (Distributed Denial of Parking) attacks -- the ultimate in dick driving!

Is there a parking problem on Venus? (1)

fake_name (245088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34749956)

Is there a parking problem on Venus? I would have thought that there was plenty of room, given how few cars are designed to operate in such a hostile environment.

Re:Is there a parking problem on Venus? (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750422)

Yeah, I've never heard of a car that can drive on a ball of gas.

Re:Is there a parking problem on Venus? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34751464)

Uhh, Venus is a rocky planet. One Russian probe actually landed there and took a few pictures. However, one lander doth not a parking problem make, especially since the sulphuric acid in the Venusian atmosphere will chew them up in time...

Re:Is there a parking problem on Venus? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750612)

Is there a parking problem on Venus? I would have thought that there was plenty of room, given how few cars are designed to operate in such a hostile environment.

On the bright side: electric cars from renewable energy would be the choice (even if not because the pressure from environmental groups - btw, these groups would be themselves under a pressure 90 times the one on Earth).
Not only there's not enough oxygen [wikipedia.org] to burn fossil fuels, but the winds on Venus are rated a 300 km/h and the insolation value is almost twice [wikipedia.org] of the Earth's. Granted, no hydro, though.
.

Not as cool as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34750066)

Not as cool as... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-11423324

Re:Not as cool as... (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750496)

Wow, you mean they rebuilt the infamous "White Elephant" Bullring carpark [thefreelibrary.com] on the other side of town, after knocking it down 10 years ago after it was derilict for 30 years?

Who cares (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34750082)

Over short distances, cars are archaic technology. As a status buy, cars are for ignorant people who attempt to derive individuality through the ownership of mass produced objects. As a disease, slavish dedication to one's car afflicts people who have figured out how much death they can tolerate so they might gas up at a price comfortable to them.

Hammer looking for a nail.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34750164)

We've had a system here for ages which uses under-bay sensors (technology as old as mud) and green lights above each bay (technology even older).

You can see the lights from a hundred metres away and you don't need a smartphone.

But of course what we need is more drivers looking at their smartphones instead of the road...

Kids use space tech as a drink! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34750218)

TANG! Kids use space tech for their morning drink!

**Thick Russian Accent** (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34750294)

You want parking spot? I have parking spot.

Good spot cost you fifty dollars. Great spot one hundred dollars.

OK, you want Great spot. Here is location.

You meet my cousin Dimitri there and give him this.

He is large man with baseball bat standing next to cement brick.

Re:**Thick Russian Accent** (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753874)

LOL, that does remind me though of when I visited a European country and the guy we were staying with was parking. Some guy in an orange reflective vest (I didn’t see any other official sort of mark on him) was walking up and down the rows of cars collecting money and slipping papers under the wipers of cars that had been paid for. I wondered (though I didn’t ask) how anybody knew whether the guy was legit or not.

Granted, I’ve heard stories about stuff like that (e.g. the guy who collected a few million from somewhere like the London Zoo parking lot or something like that and nobody noticed he wasn’t supposed to be there until he just didn’t show up one day), but living in the United States it’s pretty hard to imagine how that could possibly happen until you’ve been to a country like that and seen how things work. Here, I doubt the guy would last a week unless maybe the city government just didn’t care enough to investigate.

Better Article describing the system (1)

topham (32406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750338)

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,723162,00.html

Much better article. The sensors detect a vehicle parked immediately above it, not 900ft away.

Magnetic vehicle detectors from the 50s... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750348)

..are now "space technology"?

Re:Magnetic vehicle detectors from the 50s... (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753808)

Probably was the editors shortening "Parking Space Technology"

useless (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750780)

i need a parking SPOT, not the parking LOT - WTF 980 feet... sensors 9 inches apart.. that many sensors and you cant come closer than a quarter mile?

"The 3,000 sensors, buried about nine inches apart, are able to pinpoint open parking spots within 980 feet and send an alert to a server, which makes the information available in real time to drivers using a special app on their smart phones."

Re:useless (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34751626)

Try reading the spiegel article.
The linked article is fucking shit, so lets clear it up:
Two sensors per spot spaced 9 inches apart.
Server can currently track 2500 to 3000 sensors.
The system directs you to the empty spots within 300 m of where you are.
In the future they hope to monitor 15,000 space.

Or, you could park at the far end and walk (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750968)

I park at the far end and walk a bit further. I don't waste time chasing spaces, and I get a little exercise. I don't pay for a gym membership either.

If you want to employ multibillion dollar tech to solve this "huge problem", be my guest. Sheesh!

Ripley: (1)

Chente (9402) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750986)

Micro changes in air density, my ass!

"Space technology?" (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34751568)

I don't see what's so great about this. They have to bury a huge number of sensors in pavement, and they're wired devices; they are all on a coax cable. Buried cables in pavement are a huge maintenance headache. Freeze/thaw cycles and traffic pressure damage the cables over time.

UC Berkeley has developed a wireless sensor [berkeley.edu] for such applications. It's an extremely low power device powered by the compression of the pavement as cars go by.

But the real competition is cameras. In the last ten years, the trend in California has been to replace traffic sensing loops with cameras and video processing. One camera can replace the loops for all lanes on an intersection face. Electronics is cheaper than all the pavement-cutting and wiring needed to get the traffic loops wired back to the controller. Finding open spaces in big outdoor parking lots can be done with a small number of cameras.

Just put a webcam on the roof (2)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752376)

Seriously, this would be such an incredibly simple, cheap and useful solution: For every large open parking lot, put a webcam on a roof or nearby antenna. When you arrive at the parking lot, a quick look on your smartphone will immediately show you where the open spots are. No need for sensors (which are expensive, will fail regularly, and may not detect small and/or incorrectly parked vehicles, motorcycles,...), no complicated connections with underground coax cables, no expensive maintenance. Just one webcam, connected to some small server which is connected to the internet.

Of course indoor parking lots would be more difficult, sensors are probably a better bet there. But then you can use much simpler detectors, for example optical ones mounted on the roof.

Re:Just put a webcam on the roof (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752396)

Actually, with all these comments about parking lots, I hadn't noticed that the article is talking about a system for a whole city. In that case, it's actually a very good idea. Lots of streets with parking spaces in short supply, just look at your smart phone and it will immediately tell you which spot everybody is racing to :-)

Although maybe a realtime sattellite image would be even simpler, now that would be space tech :-)

Space Technology? (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752488)

If I understand the technology employed here, it is the same tech my corner stop light uses to detect cars waiting for the light to change, only instead of using the data on car presence to influence a stop light, they are using coaxial cable to send the info to a server which makes it available to a web server... All of this is fairly common technology - you can literally find most if not all of it on any major intersection in America.

Oh but wait, your smartphone is using it's GPS to determine where your car is, and while I guess that is 'technically' space technology (it involves geosynchronous satellites to determine position of the device), it isn't really so fantastical, people have been using the same technology to 'geotag' family snapshots for years on their iPhones...

Cannot Detect Motorcycles (1)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753650)

Unless this is a serious improvement over the sensors used in US roadways its going to have a problem detecting motorcycles. Most have too little metal to set off the sensors, which is why you sometimes see bikers parking their bikes, and running over to hit the walk button.

Not unique. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754558)

Interesting, but it doesn't sound particularly unique. I know of several companies which feature very similar technology. Actually, this one company in particular pairs it up to parking meters that allow the city to track if parked cars have paid for the spot or if they're in violation. That's not something your average person looks forward to, but they do also allow for the opportunity to inform drivers of open spots, as well as letting you know that your meter is about to expire.

I'm also not sure why this system's sensors need to be buried so closely together (9" apart) and apparently aren't connected to individual parking spaces. So presumably there's some level of extra complexity here in order for this to work. The ones I've seen feature a small unit under each parking spot. Each sensor corresponds to a specific spot which seems more logical to me. But for all I know the technology is a lot more similar than the article would indicate.

Re:Not unique. (1)

thaig (415462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755216)

A couple of sensors 9 inches apart can cover an area within a radius of 980ft. That's why it is special - because you don't need one sensor for every space.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?