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Young innovators Gan (left), Chan and Leow
The three innovators at the Innovate Malaysia Design competition 2017.

DOUBLE parking is a nuisance, especially during peak hours. It is common nowadays to see people leaving their phone numbers on the dashboard or leaving their handbrakes off so that others can push the car if it is blocking one’s path.

What if there is a better way? What if we don’t need to hear long, ear-piercing honks disturbing everyone’s peace?

A team of university students have created ParkKing, a smart outdoor parking system with double parking detection.

Edward Chan Kam Fai, 24, Gan Yi Reng, 24, and Leow Tan Chun Kit, 23, who recently graduated from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic) degree, have come up with an innovative solution to improve public services in the city.

Gan says the system is not only aimed at the public but also building management and local councils by setting up an integrated information platform with multi-source data that works with devices which turn a particular city problem to a service.

“For city administration, we have an integrated parking lot monitoring and analysis system as well as a smartphone application for officers to give summons.

“The public can check for parking lot availability in real time and also report illegal parking through the platform,” he says.

The Smart Parking with Automated Double Park Detection System won the first prize under the Motorola Solutions Track and nailed the Cyberview Design Challenge at the Innovate Malaysia Design Competition 2017 which concluded recently.

The competition was organised by industry leaders — Fusionex, Intel, Keysight, MathWorks, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions, National Instruments, Silterra, and ViTrox — and managed by Dream Catcher Consulting.

Students had to tackle real-world problems with practical engineering solutions through the submission of a proposal paper in the initial stage of the competition.

Shortlisted teams then underwent training and received mentorship from industry experts, while being supplied with state-of-the-art industry technology platforms that could assist them with their prototyping.

The finalists were then selected to take part in the grand finale upon the submission of the participants’ final project paper.

Under their adviser, Dr Kamaludin Mohamad Yusof, the prototype of the device only took three months to develop at RM70 per sensor.

With educating the community in mind, Chan says they hope the innovation can help enforcement personnel and districts with perennial parking problems.

The device/sensor is planted in the ground, which uses magnetic sensor to detect cars nearby.

ParkKing helps drivers locate the nearest available empty parking lot, and even shows how to get there.

Tan says that in the existing solution, the car detector is located at the centre of the parking lot.

“However, ParkKing will have its car detector sensor located 20cm inside from the boundary of the parking lot. This is so that it can detect whether there is an available parking in the lot or there is a car double-parked outside.

The ParkKing device uses a magnetic sensor to help drivers locate the nearest available empty parking lot.

“Next, there is a transceiver gateway installed at the lamp post which can connect up to 20 car detectors at parking lots. When it detects the presence of a car either in the parking lot or double-parked, it will send the data to the control server of the system.”

“For the city council, we will provide an integrated parking monitoring system for them to know the parking status in real time,” adds Chan.

“There is a mobile app that is strictly for the council officer, which serves to receive any illegal parking notification from the server. It can directly lead the officer to that parking lot for summons or call for tow car services,” says Chan.

Kamaludin says the mobile app is unique and differs from other available apps currently in the market.

“Road users or pedestrians can report any illegal parking by using the ParkKing mobile app. If the report is verified, they will receive a reward.

“This motivates the community to participate and thus facilitates two-way communication between road users and the city council,” he says.

The team hopes to further enhance the system with more functions so that the device can be improved for commercial use. They are also looking for investors to fund the project.

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