Analog Devices Inc. and Cambridge Consultants announced Tuesday a cost-effective, smart monitoring system that helps ease parking frustrations for drivers which saves them time and makes parking easier by monitoring space occupancy for on-street and indoor garage parking spaces without adding expensive infrastructure, apart from enabling a number of parking improvements.
The smart system is enabled by Analog Devices’ Blackfin Low Power Imaging Platform (BLIP), which is a low-cost, low-power embedded computer vision platform targeting an array of real-time sensing applications. Using a sophisticated algorithm designed by Cambridge Consultants, BLIP can visually detect which parking spaces are occupied or empty. This is a significant improvement over costly alternative solutions, which involve digging up roads and parking lots to install individual sensors under each parking space.
BLIP leverages the latest entry within the Blackfin processor line as well as Analog Devices’ optimized software library deliverables. This solution offers end equipment manufacturers an out of the box form factor development platform with multiple functional profiles covering motion sensing, people counting, vehicle detection, and face detection deployable in both indoor and outdoor use cases.
The BLIP system includes an intuitive configuration GUI and enables real-time analysis of captured video, as well as video output/display through an on-board USB port, making it a highly valuable tool for product development. Additionally, the associated documentation package is ideal to help clients accelerate their time to market.
For instance, drivers can be assigned a parking space as they enter a car garage, enabling them to go straight to their allotted spot. Or they can request a specific space in advance if they plan to shop at a particular store. If the data from the occupancy sensor is combined with number plate recognition, drivers can also be offered automated payment and help with locating their parked car.
Cambridge Consultants is part of high-tech engineeering consulting firm Altran, which develops with, or for, its clients the products and services of tomorrow. Altran works along with its clients on every link in the value chain of their project, from conception to industrialisation. With a staff of nearly 26,000 employees in more than 20 countries, the Group generated revenues of €1.945 billion last year.
“The BLIP platform allows Analog Devices to make significant contributions in emerging IoT spaces such as smart building and cities where this a radical shift from passive to real-time intelligent sensing nodes,” said Michael Murray, general manager, Industrial IoT and Sensing, Analog Devices. “We’re excited to collaborate with Cambridge Consultants on this project. The company’s world-class expertise in complex algorithm development allowed us to algorithmically enable BLIP for an application space that would create a unique solution to relieve a major source of frustration for drivers everywhere.”
Parking surveys regularly report that the search for a parking space can often take up to 20 minutes with the average motorist wasting thousands of hours during their lifetime trying to find a vacant spot. In addition to the economic cost of this wasted time, it also adds to pollution and congestion on the roads.
“Our unique smart system uses machine vision to establish whether each space is free or occupied with no need for expensive infrastructure,” said Dipak Raval, a commercial director at Cambridge Consultants. “It’s an excellent example of how machine vision can provide a cost-effective way of monitoring occupancy over a wide area, since the camera is able to ‘see’ multiple bays.”