Dr Amalendu Chatterjee, Co-founder & VP-Technology, Eximsoft International argues in favour of Robust Web Parking Portal (RWPP) for the parking industry. “Incremental addition of technologies may add some values but a big structural overhaul with a long term vision is necessary”, he says in this detailed piece on autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence for a new parking business model.
Thanks to Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), the autonomous transportation systems will soon be enormously shaped by the modern trends of Autonomous Vehicles (self-driving and self-parking) with Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, mobility, vision-zero implementation, efficient parking operation, new revenue generation, civilized and fair pricing such as pay-as-you-use, autonomous service provisioning, autonomous identification of parking & transportation clients for auto invoice generation, court traffic reduction and other enhancements prove to be the many challenges in the area.
The extent of such autonomous transportation services will be determined by a few factors including integration of parking and transportation services; technology push (Drone, Mobility, Hardware/Software Platform, Solar, Electric Vehicle and Others including AI); connectivity of network devices and user devices for optimum configuration; new infrastructure and platform with scalability and robustness (Facility Management, Payment Processing, Virtual Web Portal); and auto identification for receiving services (Toll, Parking, Transportation and New Innovations).
Given the importance of the above factors, Internal Parking Institute (IPI) is studying these issues through different task forces like Technology and ITS. The objectives are to study and analyze the implication of future innovative parking services due to the following:
- Technology Push
- Impact of ITS and the Parking Service integration
- New Integrated Parking & Transportation Infrastructure (Facility, Payment Process, Operations, Virtual Web Portal, and others).
Different views are slowly emerging from these task forces.
At the core is the concept of modernizing the existing business model to keep up with the pace of various technologies at our disposal. We need to debate two options: Incremental Change and Revolutionary Approach. In my view, incremental addition of technologies may add some values but a big structural overhaul with a long term vision is necessary. Such vision should consider online and autonomous service platform to bring convenience and flexibility from anywhere and at any time.
We will attempt to shed some insights to deal with the many mysteries of technology innovation, its cost, facility development, future parking configuration and new application/service development for new revenues. Of course, such approach will generate both positive and negative industry dynamics. While environmental friendliness, vision zero implementation with new technologies, minimizing field device/service, public/private cooperation, national standard for uniformity, resource optimization for traffic congestion and Green House Gas (GHG) are the positive aspects, fear of change itself, availability of expertise and technology cost are the negative ones.
Why A New Business Model?
Vehicle technologies are moving at the speed of light and AI has enabled many functions and features of the autonomous and connected vehicles. The parking industry must keep up the pace for an autonomous service platform to compete in such an environment with the right answer – a ‘Robust Web Parking Portal (RWPP)’. Incremental efforts to modernize segmented parking installations might work for the short term but owing to their inherent limitations, they may not be sustainable for decades. Moreover, transition from the incremental approach would cost more when an overhaul will be needed later to bring it at par with other utility services such as Uber/ Lyft – virtual operation with public and private cooperation.
Efforts by cities are under way to define and implement a Suburban Parking District (SPD), away from the City Business District (CBD) in order to promote frequent transportations back and forth from CBD to SPD. These are also called park and ride services.
Many social media platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter are built on an internet infrastructure. Integrated parking and transportation industries will need a similar infrastructure. Here, we are talking about an exclusive Virtual Parking Infrastructure (VPI) using internet and web similar to ‘Google’ or ‘Facebook’ but with different configurations and contents. That is how The Robust Web Parking Portal (RWPP) infrastructure will be defined, implemented and populated — with all hardware and software modules of parking and traffic functions. These modules will be glued together with Application Program Interfaces (API) for developing a wide range of customer applications and services. Today’s Google infrastructure is the home for many successful entrepreneurs. Hopefully, new Parking Infrastructure (RWPP) will also be home to many new entrepreneurs. For example, even small parking lot owners with five to 10 spaces will be able to market their spaces whenever they get connected to the web and get paid based on the usage – like car sharing (Uber/Lyft) or room sharing (AirBNB). The objective is to change the long standing perception of parking from a money grabbing proposition to a great convenience of public transportation services.