- Think Waze, but for parking.The ParKam app's camera-based system tracks and directs users to open parking spots.
- Better than that, it also predicts which spots will still be open by the time you get to them.
- Like Waze, ParKam was developed in Israel's "Silicon Wadi," and it's not in the U.S.—yet.
GPS navigation systems with crowd-sourced insights and local intel are changing the way we get around and in between cities, and now there’s a company looking to leverage the same technology for that last, relatively few feet of your trip: finding parking.
ParKam is one of a growing number of smart-mobility startups coming out of the Silicon Wadi, Israel's burgeoning tech corridor. It has already given us such transport-focused innovators as Mobileye, Waze, and Argus Cyber Security, and Parkam could prove to be the tech-savvy Mediterranean enclave's next big contribution to the future of mobility.
As Waze, Google Maps, or Here have done with public roadways, ParKam is mapping parking lots around the world. But instead of sending out fleets of camera-laden vehicles (or relying on user data), ParKam leverages the proliferation of security cameras already installed by parking-lot operators and municipalities around the world, using real-time image processing and computer vision to create its own digital maps and monitor the availability of open parking spots in open, multilevel, and underground lots.
It then shares that information through a smartphone app, directing drivers to the nearest (or most desired) available spot and even enabling users to pay for parking. The network can also track parking-spot availability on digital signs—say, on the outside of a multi-level garage—provide real-time data to lot operators and municipal control centers, and relay parking violations to enforcement officers.
Beyond closed lots, ParKam's reach extends to street parking as well, employing artificial intelligence and machine learning not only to track the availability of parking spots but to predict supply, demand, and traffic behavior.
The company currently tracks some 1.4 million parking spots in countries including Australia, Brazil, Dubai, the Netherlands, and its native Israel. Its greatest challenge, however, lays ahead in the U.S. market, which CEO Asaf Naamani describes as "the largest market for smart mobility and smart parking" in the world, estimated to encompass over 2 billion parking spots across the country. We don't have it yet, but when we do, it could be a game changer for urban drivers.
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