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Saturday , 20 July 2024

From parking slips to AI

Safety and security are critical considerations in parking solutions. While parking facilities occupy large floor spaces or land areas, these have relatively lesser activity when compared to the businesses they support. Such locations therefore, are at risk for potential larceny and crime, given low occupancy. Safety in a parking facility can be significantly enhanced by planning and implementing security measures during its design and construction phase. Trafficinfratech spoke to leading parking technology providers to understand what they feel should be put in place for providing secured parking lots.

Before incorporating high-end technology, a few fundamental requirements for parking security need to be in place. Borrowing the definition from the International Parking Institute, any measure or technique not requiring human interaction or response, including lighting, glass-backed elevators, open or glass-enclosed stairs, is defined as passive security or security-by-design. This approach refers to specific parking facility design elements, features, materials and systems that can enhance the overall security of the facility without active human interaction. Passive security measures are cost-effective and last the life of the parking facility.

Installing bright lighting fixtures strategically so they do not create shadows is one of the more effective ways to make the facility safer. Eliminating dark corners and brightening stairways & walkways improve visibility for drivers and pedestrians reducing the likelihood of accidents, slips, and falls. Smart lighting with motion sensors also improves safety and security of the facility. Clear-span construction technique reduces the number of columns within the parking area, creating an open environment, better visibility, and minimizing potential hiding places.

 

Other cost-effective security measures include installing CCTV cameras at highly visible spots, clear signage informing visitors of security cameras, driving safety signs, clear demarcation between parking and pedestrian areas and gates at entry and exit points to and from the facility. A well-maintained parking area also means criminals will avoid a place that receives regular attention. Maintenance would include replacing burnt-out light bulbs, addressing wet, damaged, or weathered areas and trimming nearby vegetation and shrubbery so people cannot hide behind it.

Rising cases of theft and vandalism are a growing concern in parking areas and owners are finding it difficult to cope with rising operational costs. On the one hand, drivers have difficulty finding free space in enormous parking lots and on the other, operators complain about the low space utilization. 

– Ashish Dhakan

There are different categories of parking facilities and each requires unique and bespoke solutions, says Ashish P. Dhakan, MD & CEO, Prama Hikvision India Pvt. Ltd.    Free public parking lots require auto recording of vehicle license plates and images, easy retrieval and export of vehicle information and camera options for varied requirements. Residential parking lots require touch-free, non-stop drive-through operation, easy visitor data management and authentication using ANPR, Cards, or QR Code. “Hikvision offers smooth entry and exit experience with authorized license plates to boost access efficiency. With ANPR-empowered products, vehicle records are easy to retrieve for efficient operation.

The key features of our parking solution include a recording of vehicle license plates, images, & video, ANPR license plate fuzzy match, event filter, date & time, blocklist alarm and vehicle counting for analysis.”       

Toothpaste doesn’t give you white teeth, brushing with it does.’ Similarly, no amount of technology, invention or regulation is effective without proper adoption. Even in parts of metropolitan cities, the culture of citizens, parking lot operators and even law enforcement agencies are far too ingrained in legacy to permit adoption and associated benefits of innovation.

– Saugat Mahapatra

Parking in India has its unique set of requirements. Saugat Mahapatra, CEO & Co-Founder, Barrel Scope Solutions Pvt. Ltd. feels that the industry has definitely evolved from parking in unsecured lots run by local strongarms to highly sophisticated AI-enabled cashless, contactless automated parking areas. While   technology and authorities have broadly addressed issues around digital fee collection, automatic identification, fraud prevention and space utilization, there still remains a large gap in the form of enabling a highly secure parking lot.

Barrel Scope provides AI-enabled technology cameras that capture not only the number plate, model and make of vehicle but also the driver’s image as a regular in-built safety feature. Mahapatra suggests exploring newer innovations to make parking lots safer. These include IoT sensors to provide parking guidance, vehicle identification and space management; AI models to analyze patterns, detect abnormalities, and perform predictive monitoring while alerting authorities to potential threats and security breaches, including physical tampering, breaching proximity zones and aggressive movements.

Blockchain technology to prohibit criminals from forging parking permits, altering logs and modifying credentials and integrating them with government databases such as Vaahan and FASTag to ensure data integrity while tracking vehicles could be other solutions. Additionally, Autonomous Security Systems where drones and robots perform constant or random surveillance in large or complex parking facilities should be considered.

By addressing the challenges and leveraging advanced technologies, HawkEye ensures enhanced security, operational efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Collaboration between technology providers, government bodies, and parking lot operators will be crucial in overcoming these challenges and ensuring successful implementation.

– Ajay Masur

The need for all of the afore-mentioned technologies is re-enforced by Ajay Masur, Co-Founder and CEO, HawkEye Smart Parking Platform by JAAN Innovations. Advanced monitoring systems that include AI-powered surveillance and facial recognition, blockchain for secure transactions and decentralised data management, surveillance by drones and robots, cameras with IoT sensors and automated gates and barriers and integrated security platforms that give real-time analytics and reporting are all part of the HawkEye cutting-edge technology platform.

 

Vishwas B S, General Manager, Bosch Mobility Platform and Solutions India Private Limited, says, “The adoption of Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems is a significant trend in India. Additionally, the growing demand for contactless entry and payment solutions, such as QR code scanners and RFID, driven by the need for hygiene and safety. Intelligent surveillance systems equipped with advanced cameras, video analytics, and AI are also gaining traction, offering enhanced monitoring capabilities and proactive security measures. However, many parking operators are not fully aware of full technology stacks and the advantages they offer including enhanced security, prevention of revenue leakage, availability of technology at an affordable price, and improved customer retention.”

There is increasing app fatigue and users are looking to consume digital parking experience without downloading a mobile app. Hence, QR codes are now being used to do more than just payments. Scanning a QR code can open up a powerful web app that allows payments, active session management, extension of prepaid parking, applying discounts and adding value added services.

–  Rasik Pansare

Rasik Pansare, Co-Founder and CMO, Get My Parking, believes some technology trends have an outsized influence over the parking industry. Camera-based license plate recognition, which has been around for a decade, has finally became accurate enough to be scaled across all types of gated parking lots. QR payments have become the norm but they need better security features as there is a rise in fraudulent codes scamming users. He suggests the way to curb this would be to use uniquely branded QR codes and to put signages across parking lots warning users with instructions on how to identify authentic QR codes.

Business parking lots need self-service facilities with flexible settings for access and fee policies supporting two-factor authentication. Lastly, mall parking lots require visual parking guidance, vehicle locator tool, easy retrieval and export of vehicle information and flexible setting and fee policies.

Implementing advanced parking lot security technologies in India poses significant challenges, including outdated infrastructure, data privacy concerns, budget constraints, and reliability issues in harsh environmental conditions. However, Bosch ParkZeus offers tailored solutions to overcome these pain points with scalable systems, stringent data security measures, flexible pricing models, and robust hardware.

–   Vishwas B S

While there is a flow of suggestions and ready availability of tech stacks, challenges in adoption and implementation abound. The disproportionate cost of technology in a country with abundant supply of cheap manpower is one. The prohibitive expenses of even retrofitting existing infrastructure with newer innovations is another, says Saugat Mahapatra.  Data privacy is a concern that may deter swift implementation of technologies involving blockchain and AI since they integrate with various data sources and are bound to attract regulatory and compliance watchdogs. A highly efficient solution revolving around automatic facial recognition or vehicle ownership validation might infringe privacy laws inadvertently.

While the adoption of high-end technology may take time given the number of challenges to overcome, providing reasonable safety and security in the parking area is in the best interest of the owner and the patron. Measures outlined as part of passive security will help to deter and prevent criminal activity and provide a safe and secure solution for parking facilities, for the time being.

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