Mobile parking system control

Parking space control in a semi-automatic parking system via smartphone

We implemented an iOS and Android app for wireless control of a semi-automatic multiparker system for a leading manufacturer of parking systems. Owners of a parking space in such systems can register their parking space in our app and link it to the system. Once registered, the user can request his parking space wirelessly via the app – identical to the existing infrared or radio remote control of the system.

He can also trigger the closing of the parking space gate via the app after entering or exiting his parking space. This is done by confirming the colour code of the LED display of the parking facility, either by directly entering the key in the app or by simply pointing his mobile device’s camera at the LED, whereby the colour code is automatically recognised and processed by the app. The latter constitutes an innovation in our customer’s competitive environment.

Challenges

The wireless control of the parking facility via smartphone posed an initial challenge – especially since an underground car park usually does not already have a WLAN network. The solution should also be able to be integrated as a component into the existing parking control system (with legacy architecture and interfaces and corresponding low-level communication protocol) or ordered as an optional product component by building owners. The goal was therefore a modular system for an autonomous ad hoc network. In doing so, and for the registration and deregistration of users, appropriate security guidelines had to be taken into account.

A special feature, and therefore an additional challenge, was the colour code interpretation via the smartphone camera: Due to security regulations, it had to be ensured that the user was away from the car park lifting platforms when operating the system. To activate the system, the user has to confirm a colour code by visual contact with an LED. The recognition of the colour codes by the camera had to be reliably ensured across different iOS and Android smartphone models.

Resolution method

A specifically programmed single-board computer was used as a module component for extending the system control, which also spans the local WLAN and Bluetooth network. The registration of a parking space and the unambiguous assignment to a specific lifting platform in a dedicated system is carried out via an individual, encrypted QR code, which the user receives directly from the manufacturer and is scanned through the app. Colour code recognition via smartphone camera was programmed using specific image decoding algorithms per platform (iOS and Android).

Technologies

Objective-C, Swift, Linux Scripting, C, Bluetooth, Platform-specific image analysis technologies, RS 485, Raspberry Pie, Java FX