Nabbing a prime parking spot is sometimes called "rockstar parking." That's what we say in my car, anyway. A smart sensor system rolling out in London could mean rockstar parking for all.
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Who doesn't loathe circling packed city streets on a busy night trying to find any open parking space? It wastes time and increases pollution, not to mention blood pressure levels. So city counselors in London are trying something new: a parking sensor system that shows drivers exactly where to find an open spot.
The system, made by the firm Smart Parking, works with infrared sensors called SmartEye that are embedded into parking spaces. Each sensor can tell whether a vehicle is present on top. These sensors are connected to a ParkRight smartphone app that displays a real-time map and directs the driver to an available space, The Telegraph's Sophie Curtis reported.
A smaller trial of the system on five London streets ended up being so successful that the Westminster City Counsel just approved a larger trial. The first phase involves retrofitting parking spots with 3,000 sensors starting this month. If all goes well, another 7,000 will go in, according to Smart Parking. The Guardian reported that the city is also considering a prepaid parking card to make the process even faster.
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Drivers in Westminster spend an average of 15 minutes hunting for a space, the City Counsel told the BBC. Until the city makes that bike highway, these sensors could cut down on pollution and quell mounting frustration behind the wheel. It's practically a virtual valet.
Photo: SmartEye sensors like the ones in Taupo, New Zealand, are coming to London. Credit: Smart Parking Ltd