BUTLER Smart Parking Trial

This deployment is a Field Trial part of the third and final trial campaign of the BUTLER project. The objective of these trials is to evaluate the BUTLER platform in real-life deployments. This trial is based on "Smart Parking" scenarios.

It is publicly known that driving and parking in a big city is quite a complicated task, especially for those citizens which are used to park their cars in the street, every day suffering high occupancy of parking spaces at rush hours. Furthermore, as some studies point out, this situation will be worsening in the future if no action is taken.

Despite the fact that in the past years there seemed to be no easy solution to overcome the aforementioned problem, we are now living in a world where technology evolves so rapidly that new protocols rise, devices become smart and promising cloud services emerge day by day.

In this sense, the SmartParking Field Trial aims to level up parking availability by providing a solution technically aligned to the new ecosystem of appliances encompassed in the so called IoT World. That being said, a deployment of low power devices, also known as Smart Objects, is needed in order to provide city context information to smart appliances, which in turn will be able to empower parking management. Like other field trials performed in BUTLER project, several surveys have been conducted in order to gain users’ willing and expectation regarding this problematic topic. With this valuable information, several adjustments have been included every time TST iterated during the trial development process, as for example including improvements in the TSmoTe platform communication interfaces, adjusting the capability for parking reservation, integration NFC user controllers, and so on.

Being the current trial scenario as big as a city lead us to decompose the tests into small location areas and controlled user groups. In other words, the whole Smart Parking deployment is being installed in one parking lot at a time, what is possible since we paid much attention during the design phase to the develop a “portable” trial. This way, all the controllers and sensors can be moved from one parking spot to another with very low impact in the lot environment. For instance, we were able to install the devices in the parking lot of a small company to target its workers as the users of the trial. After running there for two weeks, we moved it to a university parking lot, thus targeting a complete different user group.

  • Latest version ID: 1.0
  • Tags: , , , , , , , ,
  • Latest update: November 14, 2014
  • Developed by: TST
  • Relations:
    • Smart City (more details)
      • Relation type: Reference relationship
      • Validation: This use case extends the Smart Parking scenario of the Smart City use case, enabling not only parking monitoring but reservation.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • sensiNact (aka. BUTLER Smart Gateway) (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: The Smart Parking trial uses a lightweight version of the BUTLER Smart Gateway. However, both of them are perfectly capable of running transparently with the underlying parking technology and, in fact, they can work together, both of them at the same time. So, in this particular field trial, the reason for TST to develop an additional gateway relies in the requirement of having a portable trial, which also offers the ability to integrate an NFC module to showcase the suitability of this technology in this kind of trial.
      • Completeness of the relation: 50%
    • BUTLER Context Manager SmartServer (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: The usage of context information on this trial can be seen as a two-way process: on one side, the system provides data to the context manager in order to be processed or consumed by other services; on another side, the trial consumes data from the manager, for instance to display the spark-deals to the users.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • BUTLER Localization Manager SmartServer (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: The process of reserving a parking space and using it traverses a step that we call the Check-in, what happens when a user validates the usage of a parking space. In order to demonstrate the integration point of the SmartShopping Field Trial into the SmartParking one, we have included a new functionality after the Check-in step. The new feature consists in sending the spark deals of the shops surrounding the parking lot to the users that have done a valid Check-in. In this manner, we have integrated the Localization Manager SmartServer since it allows us to send the GPS coordinates of the parking spaces and the mobile apps so to be lately consumed by the Context Manager SmartServer.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • Gemalto - Trust Manager (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: There are two User Interface (UI) applications allowing the users to interact with the system: the MobileApp and the WebPanel. The former is intended to be used by regular citizens, while the later is thought to be used by local authorities and parking administrators. This manner, we need a way to differ between different user profiles, which may be assigned roles to grant certain access privileges. This is done thanks to integration of the Authorization SmartServer in combination to the User Profile SmartServer. While the MobileApp implements a pure Android library, the WebPanel integrates the butler.js library, but in essence both of them behave the same way.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • BUTLER User Profile SmartServer (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: There are two User Interface (UI) applications allowing the users to interact with the system: the MobileApp and the WebPanel. The former is intended to be used by regular citizens, while the later is thought to be used by local authorities and parking administrators. This manner, we need a way to differ between different user profiles, which may be assigned roles to grant certain access privileges. This is done thanks to integration of the Authorization SmartServer in combination to the User Profile SmartServer. While the MobileApp implements a pure Android library, the WebPanel integrates the butler.js library, but in essence both of them behave the same way.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • BUTLER.js (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: There are two User Interface (UI) applications allowing the users to interact with the system: the MobileApp and the WebPanel. The former is intended to be used by regular citizens, while the later is thought to be used by local authorities and parking administrators. This manner, we need a way to differ between different user profiles, which may be assigned roles to grant certain access privileges. This is done thanks to integration of the Authorization SmartServer in combination to the User Profile SmartServer. While the MobileApp implements a pure Android library, the WebPanel integrates the butler.js library, but in essence both of them behave the same way.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • SmartMobile for native Android apps (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: There are two User Interface (UI) applications allowing the users to interact with the system: the MobileApp and the WebPanel. The former is intended to be used by regular citizens, while the later is thought to be used by local authorities and parking administrators. This manner, we need a way to differ between different user profiles, which may be assigned roles to grant certain access privileges. This is done thanks to integration of the Authorization SmartServer in combination to the User Profile SmartServer. While the MobileApp implements a pure Android library, the WebPanel integrates the butler.js library, but in essence both of them behave the same way.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • SmartMobile UI (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: There are two User Interface (UI) applications allowing the users to interact with the system: the MobileApp and the WebPanel. The former is intended to be used by regular citizens, while the later is thought to be used by local authorities and parking administrators. This manner, we need a way to differ between different user profiles, which may be assigned roles to grant certain access privileges. This is done thanks to integration of the Authorization SmartServer in combination to the User Profile SmartServer. While the MobileApp implements a pure Android library, the WebPanel integrates the butler.js library, but in essence both of them behave the same way.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • BUTLER Smart Shopping Trial (more details)
      • Relation type: Interoperability relationship
      • Validation: This trial is fully interoperable with the Smart Parking field trial as parking information are used by the shopping trial to provide information to the city merchants and in turn, user of the Smart Parking trial can be notified upon arrival at their parking spot of merchants deals.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%

Intellectual property rights (IPR)

@BUTLER

General Description of the Trial

This deployment is a Field Trial part of the third and final trial campaign of the BUTLER project. The objective of these trials is to evaluate the BUTLER platform in real-life deployments. This trial is based on “Smart Parking” scenarios.

It is publicly known that driving and parking in a big city is quite a complicated task, especially for those citizens which are used to park their cars in the street, every day suffering high occupancy of parking spaces at rush hours. Furthermore, as some studies point out, this situation will be worsening in the future if no action is taken.

Despite the fact that in the past years there seemed to be no easy solution to overcome the aforementioned problem, we are now living in a world where technology evolves so rapidly that new protocols rise, devices become smart and promising cloud services emerge day by day.

In this sense, the SmartParking Field Trial aims to level up parking availability by providing a solution technically aligned to the new ecosystem of appliances encompassed in the so called IoT World. That being said, a deployment of low power devices, also known as Smart Objects, is needed in order to provide city context information to smart appliances, which in turn will be able to empower parking management. Like other field trials performed in BUTLER project, several surveys have been conducted in order to gain users’ willing and expectation regarding this problematic topic. With this valuable information, several adjustments have been included every time TST iterated during the trial development process, as for example including improvements in the TSmoTe platform communication interfaces, adjusting the capability for parking reservation, integration NFC user controllers, and so on.

Being the current trial scenario as big as a city lead us to decompose the tests into small location areas and controlled user groups. In other words, the whole Smart Parking deployment is being installed in one parking lot at a time, what is possible since we paid much attention during the design phase to the develop a “portable” trial. This way, all the controllers and sensors can be moved from one parking spot to another with very low impact in the lot environment. For instance, we were able to install the devices in the parking lot of a small company to target its workers as the users of the trial. After running there for two weeks, we moved it to a university parking lot, thus targeting a complete different user group.

Trial Scenario

A sample scenario is presented in the Examples section

The following picture illustrates the process the end user follows to reserve a parking space, park his car and finish (check-in) the reservation.

SmartParkingUseCase

The process starts with the exchange of the parking space availability in the city between the users and the parking broker. So first, they request the bunch of parking opportunities available in a certain location. After that, they place a reservation based on these results choosing either:

  • the rest of the present day
  • an entire future day

That being said, for now the reservations are considered too long a whole day, although in the future it may be possible to establish variable duration ranges.

Back to the parking space, besides deploying a monitoring infrastructure of vehicle detection sensors, the SmartParking solution provided by TST is able to display the parking availability to citizens directly on the field by installing a sort of LED lighting system with different colours: red means correctly parked, green means the space is free to use, and blue denotes a parking space that is under reservation, so only its legitimate user is allowed to use it. Additional colours may be installed as well, for example an orange light could mean that the space is reserved for being used by load/unload vehicles.

Now it’s time for users to drive to their parking spots. Once there, they will see that some parking spaces are reserved thus being signalized with a blue state. Furthermore, new features may be integrated in this process flow. For instance, the availability of a powerful localization engine could offer a navigation service to reach the destination through a guided route, even considering the current circumstances of the city. These features suppose an example of new revenue streams for enlarging smart parking applications.

The last step in the process is done just after parking the car. In order to prevent fake usage and bad practices, it is now when users have to unequivocally advise the system that they are in the place where they are supposed to be. To do so, the field trial comprises two mechanisms: the usage of NFC Tags and the usage of the mobile’s GPS. Of course, additional technologies may be included in future deployments, as for example Bluetooth, Fingerprints or Car-Plate recognition. Finally, if the user is allowed to make use of the parking space, then the light changes to red. It is worth to notice that when a spot is lighten with a green light means that is free to be used to everybody, even with no previous reservation.

To sum up, the street deployment is continuously sensing the presence of cars in the parking spaces, while also displaying if they are free to use, reserved or being used by the right user. A parking spot can be reserved in advance, either for a certain day in the future, either to be used in a few minutes time. The check-in of a reserved parking spot is done using an out-of-bounds technology (NFC) or GPS-based. The field trial permits non-BUTLER users to keep using green (free) parking spaces.

Although such uncivil behavior can become a significant limitation of the use case, the use of a physical element to block unscrupulous users from parking has been rejected from this trial for two reasons:

  • In order to have a fully portable deployment: investment in road blocking devices can be both expensive and long in a municipality, therefore for this initial, pre-commercial trial it is important to have a fully portable solution that can be tested and demonstrated rapidly in the streets with very limited constraints for the municipalities as well as for the habitants. Long term commercial deployments could cover more realisticallythe costs of blocking devices.
  • It is a deliberate position of the trial to be able to assess the behavior of the potential end users without blocking behavior. This will enable a first estimation of the risk of uncivil parking behavior which will help justify (or not) the investment in expensive road blocking devices for a municipality.

Overall Architecture

The following picture represents the SmartParking Field Trial architecture. The main value of the trial is a WSN deployment of vehicle detection sensors and lighting devices on the paviment, all of them being controlled by a TSmoTe acting as a SmartObject.

SmartParkingArchitecture

The TSmoTe device empowers several communication interfaces, which make it able to communicate with the WSN of vehicle detection sensors and smart lights using a low power radiofrequency protocol in the ISM band. Furthermore, the TSmoTe device incorpores an NFC module designed also by TST so to handle RFID and NFC transactions with the users of the parking system, either using an NFC-capable mobile phone or NFC tags. Finally, the TSmoTe integrates ZigBee and GPRS modules for the communication with SmartGateway and SmartServer.

Service level

This first description of the BUTLER smart parking deployment will be updated by the end of the trials in September 2014.

The deployments will continue to be maintained and updated by the responsible partners beyond the end of the project.

Technology Readiness Level

6 - technology demonstrated in relevant environment

Reuse Readiness Levels

4 - Reuse is possible; the software might be reused by most users with some effort, cost, and risk.

Security

A security assessment of the trial has been realized and will be published soon

Donald works in Speed Street, a small SME company situated in the surroundings of Santander, where is hard too difficult to arrive using public transportation, so he usually goes by car. Almost every day the parking spots around the company’s building are so demanded that he has to park many meters away from there. This way, Donald has to finish his trip by walk, although he doesn’t care since he is a healthy person.

Next Friday is an important date in Donald’s agenda. He will be hosting a promising unemployed young entrepreneur, Patrick, who comes with a brand new business model to boost Speed Street sales. He will be arriving on Friday noon by car, what makes Donald feel very sorry for him, since he knows how hard is to park at that time.

However, Patrick is always one step forward in IoT trends. He heard in the IoT Week that BUTLER project released a SmartParking app to be informed about traffic status in the city. Apart from that, he also found out that in the surroundings of Speed Street building there is an IoT deployment of devices managing a set of parking spaces. It was a great surprise for Patrick to discover how easy was to reserve a parking spot for next Friday.