Artificial intelligence makes parking easier in the busiest cities

Artificial intelligence that helps drivers find parking spaces in busy city centers is being developed at the University of Bath, the British university writes in a press release.

The software will also encourage drivers to cooperate with local councils in their quest to keep pollution within safe limits in busy city centres, as part of a far-reaching program designed to reduce toxic air in the centres. -cities.

As the urban population continues to grow (the global urban population is expected to more than double by 2050, with 7 out of 10 people living in cities), the need to use new technologies to mitigate pollution and congestion is becoming more and more pressing. However, any measure introduced to limit car use in cities will also need to consider the needs of people in rural communities who may rely on their car to access essential services.

The new project is a collaboration between computer scientists from Bath and Chipside Ltd, a leader in the world of parking and traffic management computing. The potential for adoption of the new technology by UK councils is high: currently Chipside is responsible for providing digital parking permits and cashless parking to over 50% of UK councils.

Net zero carbon emissions

During its 2.5 year partnership with Bath, Chipside will develop a suite of software designed to help local councils meet parking, city access and vehicular traffic milestones as outlined in the government’s ten point plan. The plan, launched in November 2020, uses public and private investment to drive the UK towards its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Under the Environment Act, which came into force in 2021, local governments have a strong incentive to roll out ‘smart city’ initiatives such as those proposed in the Bath-Chipside scheme, as they will increasingly more likely to face hefty fines if they fail to meet environmental targets. An important goal currently proposed is to keep fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – which comes from fuel combustion – within the limits recommended by the World Health Organization.

Influencing driver behavior

The new project will use the latest artificial intelligence technology to create services that allow local authorities to analyze large amounts of driver behavior data and better control local travel habits.

Dr. Özgür Şimşek, Deputy Director of Computing at Bath and Head of the Artificial Intelligence Research Group, will be the academic lead for the project. She explains why it makes sense for services to be developed to change the behavior of drivers during the last mile of their journey to an urban center.

“Imagine driving into town on a Thursday morning and unknowingly your car is the only engine driving the town to exceed the allowed pollution level, resulting in a big fine for the local government. Imagine now that instead of that happening, you get a suggestion to park in another better place, and you get a free parking spot, and an uncrowded route to your free parking spot is also displayed. of the service would be tailored to your individual needs while also helping to achieve net zero goals.