A unique artificial intelligence system now directs Ülemiste City drivers to available parking spots
A new system available to drivers in Ülemiste City can guide them precisely to an available parking spot. The system combines signposts, LED displays, web interface and the most advanced AI video camera image analysis tool. It is one of the largest AI powered parking systems in Europe and the whole world.
Thousands of drivers come to Ülemiste City every day, for work and for brief meetings. In the past, looking for a parking space was a lot like playing a lottery, but from now on a new smart system, launched this week, will guide drivers to an available parking spot – both online and in the parking lots.
Conventional systems require sensors installed in the pavement
“We have been looking for a similar technology for a long time, we searched for the best technical solution in the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but our task was not easy,” said Ursel Velve, Member of the Management Board at Mainor Ülemiste. “This might sound weird; there are parking counters in most of the shopping centers – but this problem is much easier to solve in a closed parking lot than outside.”
Many of the potential solutions were based on pavement-mounted sensors that were not suitable for Ülemiste, as the city is in constant development.
The open car census system is unique because it does not require any additional sensors. “The same cameras that ensure the safety in Ülemiste are also used for keeping track of parking spaces,” Velve said.
Namely, with the help from Europark and Pixevia, the optimal solution found to determine whether a parking spot is full or empty was to use image analysis on the video feed from car park cameras. Users can even find accurate information about available parking spots in all the car parking lots in Ülemiste City online, straight from their car.
“The information on how many free spaces we have will be provided to the drivers in car parks through LED displays, as well as online for those still planning their journey,” Velve said.
What about snow?
The new Ülemiste parking system was launched just as early winter weather arrived in Tallinn. According to Velve, even when parking lots are covered with snow, it does not interfere with picture recognition. “The only problem might be the snow covering road markings, which can lead to disorderly parking. But if we guide drivers with a few flags, they can park properly and be unaffected by snow.”
The Europark partner Pixevia uses images from ordinary security cameras and analyzes them using artificial intelligence algorithms. This allows the software to detect whether parking spaces are occupied and it can then relay this information to drivers.