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Parking occupancy determination using structured light sensor

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000238651D
Publication Date: 2014-Sep-09
Document File: 4 page(s) / 638K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This idea proposes a method for determining parking occupancy for a parking row in a parking structure using structured light sensors, and a system for displaying this data to alert drivers of available parking spaces on a row by row basis. The structured light method for parking occupancy determination has many advantages over the aforementioned methods of ground loop/ultrasonic/puck sensors in terms of detection accuracy and cost. The proposed method comprises of the following steps: (1) determining the total occupancy of a given parking row or section using structured light sensor. (2) alerting drivers via digital signage that is updated on a real-time basis of the number of available parking spots in current parking row, (3) updating digital sign at garage/structure entrance which displays total number of available spots within structure on a floor-by-floor basis.

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Parking occupancy determination using structured light sensor

This idea proposes a method for determining parking occupancy for a parking row in a parking structure using structured light sensors, and a system for displaying this data to alert drivers of available parking spaces on a row by row basis. The structured light method for parking occupancy determination has many advantages over the aforementioned methods of ground loop/ultrasonic/puck sensors in terms of detection accuracy and cost. The proposed method comprises of the following steps: (1) determining the total occupancy of a given parking row or section using structured light sensor. (2) alerting drivers via digital signage that is updated on a real-time basis of the number of available parking spots in current parking row, (3) updating digital sign at garage/structure entrance which displays total number of available spots within structure on a floor-by-floor basis.

Background

Parking management systems are being proposed that provide real-time parking occupancy data to drivers to reduce fuel consumption and traffic congestion. In the context of a parking garage/lot, an increasing amount of parking occupancy data is not only needed at the level of an overall parking garage/lot, but at the level of each parking row in order to more easily aid drivers in finding available parking spaces.  Existing systems either use ground loop sensors or ultrasonic sensors to count vehicles at the entrances/exits of traffic lanes. While the ground loop method is generally considered an economical solution to overall parking garage/lot occupancy, it is difficult and cost prohibitive to implement on a row by row basis. Installation of ground loop sensors require that the asphalt be excavated as the require burial. In addition, this method of detection is vulnerable to false positives from metallic objects traveling over the loops such as luggage or other items that may be transported by pedestrians. Ultrasonic sensors may miscount vehicles due to the relatively narrow field of view inherent in this type of sensor. Installation of sensor arrays will remedy this problem, but brings cost and system complexity as a consequence.  Other proposals for obtaining parking occupancy include the use of Puck-style ground sensor and individual ultrasonic sensors for each parking space. Similarly, these systems are too expensive for most parking garages/lots to consider.

Fig.1. Typical ground loop method for parking garage occupancy determination

The second method, not as widely used as the ground loop method, is the use of ultrasonic sensors. Two ultrasonic sensors are suspended above a traffic lane and on each end of the lane. Two are needed in order to determine whether vehicle is entering or exiting the area. Ultrasonic sensors typically have a narrow field of view. Thus the system may miscount in situations where a vehicle cuts a corner unless an array of sensors are implemented which increases both the cos...