Will this put a STOP to Double-Parking?

You’ve done it before or have had it done to you. You might have left your phone number on your dashboard, or have had to call the number left on the dashboard, if one was left at all. You might have thought that “I’m just gonna pop in for a few minutes” or “Damnit, I need to leave now ‘cause my dog is dying/my bladder is bursting/my wife is giving birth…”. Whether you’re the culprit or the victim, this new app-based system, developed by university students, will interest you. The Universiti Teknologi Malaysia students have developed a system that could soon be used to prevent a driver’s unforgivable sin of DOUBLE-PARKING.

These young chaps won the Cyberview Design Challenge for the Innovate Malaysia Design Competition 2017 for their Smart Parking with Automated Double Park Detection System, which they have named ParkKing. (And what are YOU doing with your life?)

The system requires installation of a sensor in each space, not very unlike having sensors in the parking lot of shopping malls (Remember the time when even that didn’t exist? How did we live?!). ParkKing, however, requires the sensor to be placed not in the centre of the space but about 20cm inside the line, so that it can detect availability of parking space AS WELL AS a double-parked vehicle. Why didn’t someone think of that earlier?

When speaking to NST, Edward Chan, one of the creators of the system, said that when it detects a double-parked car, an alert will be sent to the city council, which can promptly send an officer to issue a saman along with a tow truck. Other road users can use the ParkKing app to report illegal parking and also to look for available parking spaces.

Now, the solution sounds simple enough. We can imagine that initially, the alarm at the city council office would be incessant. But if enforcement is carried out every time an alert is sounded and enough “Zon Operasi Sensor” signages—like ones they have for the AES cameras—are put up, maybe, just maybe, Malaysian drivers will once and for all stop this nonsense of double-parking.

But installing sensors in every parking space can be a very costly affair. The cost of the sensor for the students’ prototype cost 70 ringgit each; in Subang Jaya alone—where this writer resides and has often had her car blocked by idiots who then stroll out of the shops to move their cars without so much as a cursory wave—there are more than 10,000 parking bays. And then you have to budget for replacements and repairs, and also skilled technicians to maintain the sensors and the system…

Sounds like we are skeptical about this, right? We’re not, really. Because finally someone is trying to think of a new solution (since the old ones don’t seem to work) to solve one of the greatest frustrations of driving in Malaysia. And, of course, it can be installed only in areas where double-parking is the worst. If anyone else has a better (and fresh) solution, please let us know.

images: The Star; NST
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