How much time and energy is wasted as drivers circle around blocks and creep down streets, on the prowl for open parking spots? Burning fuel, they simmer silently in their seats, running late for work and appointments. Thankfully, technology has some solutions to ease the pain of finding parking.
Engineers Marco Gruteser and Wade Trappe of Rutgers University have combined ultrasonic sensors, GPS receivers, and cellular data networks to create a handy and ultra-cheap “parking-spot finder.” Their system distributes the task of finding vacant parking spots to sensors placed on a number of roving vehicles, and then combines the info to make a map of all the available parking in a region. That map could theoretically be accessed through smart phones or dashboard navigation devices.