Parking congestion? There's a drone for that

Wed, 2015-01-21 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

University of Massachusetts student Amir Ehsani Zonouz won the first Siemens' Mobility IDEA (Improving Design and Engineering for All) Contest. The initiative offers prizes for innovative ideas to help solve five of the toughest challenges facing the traffic industry.

Zonouz proposed using quadcopters, a type of small-scale drone, that find free parking spots, determine the shortest path to that spot, and help guide drivers to the designated space either by the driver following the drone to the spot via a mobile app or directly through a car’s communication system.

Siemens, a Council Associate Partner, will Siemens will gather its top R&D experts to hold an innovation workshop for Zonouz to produce a fully developed prototype of the parking drone technology. 

2nd place winner focuses on pedestrians
A Clemson University student was the second-place winner. Sakib Khan's idea was technology that allows for safe pedestrian crossing. The university will get a $50,000 in-kind software grant. Third-place winner Sasan Amini, a student at Technical University Munich, proposed an idea around self-parking autonomous vehicles.

“This contest brought in a wealth of interesting, innovative, and forward-thinking ideas to help solve our greatest traffic challenges. But, with 30% of downtown traffic created by people looking for parking spaces, the judges found Zonouz’s idea to utilize drones to monitor and identify parking spots the most innovative and potentially impactful idea in this contest,” said Ben Collar, head of U.S. Research & Development for Siemens Road and City Mobility.  “Having all three winners of this first contest of its kind at Siemens come from university level only further proves the importance of developing the great minds of tomorrow to help solve our most pressing challenges.”

Siemens said the contest had over 385 participants and 180 idea submissions.

More on improving traffic…
Smart transportation 2025: Here's a sneak peek (see if your city's on track)
Report: Yes, smart parking apps can reduce congestion, pollution and other city woes

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