This Parking Garage Rewards You for Not Driving

A new pilot program using AI is running in Munich.

(marchello74 / Shutterstock.com)

Parking your car in a parking garage has a lot of advantages. You do not have to constantly move your car for alternate side parking, or snow removal, and you do not have to go in and out of your vehicle in inclement weather. Now, in Munich, Germany there is an additional benefit, artificial intelligence can reward drivers for not using their cars.

That’s right. A trial program uses AI to communicate with drivers to tell them when the garage is filling up and a price increase will go into effect, or suggest that drivers find an alternative place to park according to Fast Company. And, it can be used  as an incentive for people to leave their cars and use more sustainable methods of transportation. People who do not use their cars to commute to work will be rewarded with public transit passes.

The project is led by UK-based Fetch.ai and Datarella , a German company, at a downtown Munich office building that is owned by Connex as a way to control pricing and use the buildings parking spaces in a smart way.

“It could say okay if you park closer, you’re going to be charged more; if you park farther away, you’ll be charged less,” Humayun Sheikh, CEO of Fetch.ai. told Fast Company. “We reward you for doing certain actions and we discourage you from doing certain actions.”

How it works: the AI is based on a multi-agent technology where agents can perform specific tasks and by communication with each other, sort out complex scenarios. The drivers’ apps will be programmed to know when the cars will be in use and the parking garage agent will tap into a camera system that will analyze the amount of spaces and then set the price accordingly

The city council is very supportive of the new project, according to a press release from Fetch.ai, because it optimizes parking space management and organizes traffic flow to prevent traffic jams. “Our system incentivizes community use of public transport through a token distribution system while reducing the congestion that accounts for a great deal of Munich’s CO2 emissions,”  Michael Reuter, CEO of Datarella said in the press release.

Even a 10 percent reduction of car use, would save 37,000 tons of emission according to Fast Company. That is the equivalent emissions of all yearly energy use for 4,000 homes.

While the system is being trialed in only one garage, Fetch.ai plans to expand the trial to other parking garages around the city in 2021. Sheikh said that once a few cameras in the garages and more apps are installed in multiple cars, the multi-agent system will be able to autonomously start to price parking in a way that will reduce congestion and emissions. The city of the future may start with smart parking garages and after that, the skies the limit.

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