Invention - An innovative parking system helps you find an empty parking space

by | Dec 21, 2009 10:00 AM ET

What if your smartphone could tell you where there are available parking spaces? What if it could let you pay for your parking automatically? That's the goal of this electronic parking meter system in San Francisco:

You can learn more about this innovative system here:

Street-embedded sensors monitor parking availability

This fall, San Francisco will implement the largest mesh network for monitoring parking to date. Around 6,000 wireless sensors from the San Francisco company Streetline will be fixed alongside as many parking spots, monitoring both parking availability and the volume and speed of passing traffic. The city hopes that displaying information from the sensors on Web maps, smart phones, and signs on the street will reduce the traffic and pollution caused by circling cars.

Of course if you have a networked parking meter system, one possibility is hacking:

Hackers Own San Francisco Parking Meter System

They were able to replicate the signals sent and determine which was the one responsible for reporting the credit balance. The hackers then created a rogue card, which they modified to report a credit of $999.99. However, modifying a card to ignore the meter's requests and never alter its original balance is also possible.

More info on hacking parking meters here: Smart Parking Meter Slides

Fun fact from the prior link: "The parking industry generates $28 billion annually."

San Francisco is using MacKay Guardian XLE meters. You can learn more about these meters here:

MacKay Guardian mechanism

More To Explore