Smart Parking and Drones

  At CES, this week Intel staged an amazing lightshow with 250 of its Shooting Star Drones. What was truly impressive was how tightly the drones stayed in formation, closely controlled by geofencing into very specific areas and hovering very precisely in a small unit of space.

  These kind of nearly still, pre-programmed drones can potentially be useful for another purpose: Parking. Occupancy detection of parking spaces in surface lots and alongside streets can be done by cameras, provided they are backed by a significant historical database driving machine learning and guided by a sophisticated algorithm, like Streetline’s cameras.

  One way of mounting those cameras could be drones in the future. A few years ago, the Mobility Improving Design and Engineering (IDEA) contest held at ITS handed the top prize to a team that explored using quadcopter drones hovering over a parking lot to find available spaces and report that information back.

  Of course, there are challenges for drones. Hovering in place for great periods of time amidst inclement weather, recharging batteries frequently, and potential FAA regulations depending on the height of the drone. Nevertheless, drone technology is pushing new frontiers in ever more industries, and parking can expect to be one of them.