Skip to main content

What a week it’s been! The rain has finally stopped, the England team are through to their first major tournament final in 55 years, their first Euro final ever, and AppyWay have made the British Parking Awards 2021 long list not once, but twice! 

It’s been a while since we’ve attended an awards ceremony in person with Covid-19 thwarting all opportunities to watch and celebrate industry achievements in person. So it’s safe to say we were thrilled to hear that the British Parking Awards are able to go ahead, live and in-person on the 24th September. 

Considered the crème de la crème of awards within the parking industry, we’re incredibly proud and excited to have been shortlisted by our industry peers for The Parking Futures Award for two of our innovative projects. These projects are; Predikt (predictive parking availability) with project partners WM5G, TfWM, GetMapping and Otonomo, and ParkAV with consortium partners Centre for Connected and Autonomous, JLR, Coventry City Council, Milton Keynes Council and Innovate UK. 

Let’s dive into these two ground-breaking projects. 

Predikt (Predictive parking availability) 

One significant problem that drivers face is finding available parking, particularly within cities, where spaces are limited and often may not meet the exact needs of the driver, either in terms of cost or location.

The eight minutes on average it takes every day to find a space in a UK city like Birmingham are part of life’s everyday irritations, but they also cost the economy an estimated £373 million every year in wasted time, fuel, and emissions. 

We have proved that real-time availability can reduce the miles driven in towns and cities by providing full visibility of available parking options in our Smart City Parking towns Harrogate and Halifax. With WM5G, we wanted to develop a solution that could be extended beyond where it is practical or affordable to install in-road sensors. 5G affords us the ability to be scalable.

With the support from Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and West Midlands 5G (WM5G) we undertook a series of trials on Stratford Road in Birmingham that saw a live HD street scan being captured from a vehicle travelling an agreed section of roadway. The footage was transmitted and processed via 5G networks to confirm parking availability in real-time to the AppyParking app.

Following these trials, we looked at the possibility of not just proving real-time availability of parking, but also predicting the future availability of bays based on historical data. This is the project we call Predikt. 

Predikt is the first commercial parking proposition in the UK that uses 5G technology. Through an app, drivers will be able to rely on accurate predictions and 3D mapping that will highlight the best parking options for them, before they set off on their journey.

Predikt will cut-down journey times by providing a scalable, accurate and reliable, predictive availability solution. An industry estimate shows this could cut up to 30% of journey times and miles driven in city centres, saving time, money and helping the environment by reducing time spent circling to find a space.

Predicted availability of bays

Predicted availability throughout the day

Predikt has done this by equipping multiple vehicles with the capability to transfer availability data simultaneously and in real time via dash cam imagery. Using connected vehicles, rather than individual bay sensors, is a significantly more efficient way to capture the availability of the kerbside. 

This method however, places substantial pressure on the technology Predikt uses to collate the parking data as the solution is reliant on the transfer and analytics of multiple large image files. But with 5G, Predikt can address the issue of data transfer latency. Handling the high demand this places on the network is only possible using the greater bandwidth 5G provides.

To create the predicted parking availability within the driver app the historical sensed parking availability from the Getmapping trial and further testing was analysed to create predicted availability. Combined with real-time data, it paints a detailed picture of parking availability across the trialled area. 

To support and enrich the data collected through 3D mapping and connected vehicles, predictive and real-time availability can be collected from multiple 5G connected data sources such as 5G connected dash cam(s), telemetry, traffic intelligence, and drivers.

This was proved via project partner Otonomo. Otonomo’s Vehicle Data Platform uses patented technology to ingest, secure, cleanse, normalize, aggregate, and enrich car data from over 40 million vehicles. Their data paints an in-depth picture of activity on the road. When fed through the AppyWay predictive AI we get a much clearer understanding of the peaks and troughs of traffic activity in a certain area of the town at certain points of the day.

Trickle-down technology makes the solution more accessible, such as through 5G enabled phones and coupling multiple sources enables higher levels of accuracy and scale.

The project has taken an API-first approach, meaning once the project is commercialised, the data will be available for fleet planners, Highways departments and app developers alike.

ParkAV

Parking is currently a challenge to both local authorities and road users. Congestion and emissions, as well as in finding and paying for parking, are key issues. Parking is an important policy lever for local authorities in managing travel, traffic demands and local vitality. It also contributes over £1bn annually in surplus revenue to support local transport. 

Automated vehicles (AVs) could impact this dramatically. 

A level 4/5 automated vehicle will need Automated Valet Parking (AVP) as a key feature. This is the ability to identify available parking, reserve, navigate to and pay for is a complex task.

The ParkAV consortium made up of AppyWay, Centre for Connected and Autonomous, JLR, Coventry City Council, Milton Keynes Council and Innovate UK, explored the business case for how automated valet parking (AVP) could work. Rather than explore technology, the project looked at how parking might be allocated, managed, and paid for both privately owned AVs and for a shared public vehicle (pod or robotaxi) as part of a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) offering.

JLR developed a customer storyboard for an AV that requires AVP. This detailed the complexity of parking an AV that needs to be hidden from the AV passenger. We then looked at the needs of Coventry and Milton Keynes for AVP, both as owners of parking estate and as setters of parking policies. The often-assumed model of vehicles “cruising”, waiting for the “next job”, is contrary to most current parking and congestion policies. Hence “parking” MaaS vehicles, especially off peak, is needed – a concept we call “MaaSpark”. Setting down an AV at any point in a city is a technical challenge and needs to match prevailing policies, and so is likely to need dedicated pickup / set down points for vehicles, both private and public. 

ParkAV car park graphic

Automated vehicles accessing reserved services

The key outcome of this project was to highlight the risks facing the partners considering AVP as a service, however the consortium has shown these can be reduced by our analysis and calls to action. Key risks remain such as the rollout timing of automated vehicles, data quality and the willingness to pay. This has led to several ideas for future projects and an exploitation timeline.

So, from this feasibility work, the consortium sees a key role for AVP in supporting an at-scale rollout of shared connected AVs vehicles through MaaSpark.

The steps required for it can also make parking better for everyone. These steps form a “call to action” for the Government, and an opportunity for AppyWay and JLR.

For central government, the consortium suggest the following actions:

  • Change the Road Traffic Act to allow kerb kissing in bays dedicated for other users and allow dynamic payment / reservation of parking bays (this also works for human driven vehicles)
  •  Allow digital and dynamic Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) captured from roadside data to enable digital coverage for the whole UK. And consider a renaming from Traffic Regulation Order to “Mobility Enabling Order” to emphasise the change in thinking
  • Mandate standards that support interoperability from parking payment systems (as is starting to happen with Electric Vehicles for both plugs and payment accounts)
  • Don’t just look at CAV vehicle capability, but have a customer and business centric view of how they influence land use and development planning to encourage adaptability of land use and growth.

For local government, the consortium suggest:

  • Develop new approaches to more open parking contracts, based on outcome based Key Performance Indicators with more risk taken by the contractor. This would allow parking to move from a negatively viewed labour intensive enforcement model to an outcome driven enabling model to support social good, whilst preserving current income levels from “parking”
  • See MaaSpark as an important enabler of MaaS, rather than a competitor/ blocker to it
  • Develop ways to charge wholesale prices for parking by changing contract approaches
  • Consider and plan for future AV parking in new developments now, to allow for future change of use

AppyWay, JLR and the wider UK industry, then have opportunities to then exploit these actions, enabling changes and help provide better parking for all, not just autonomous vehicles.

We couldn’t be more delighted to be included and the nerves are already building ahead of the finalists announcement. The awards are on the 24th September, so watch this space!

AppyWay