Smart Living | Lifestyle

Lifestyle | 01 Jul 2020

Parking troubles? Here’s how 5G could help you find a space

Vodafone UK has joined with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and West Midlands 5G (WM5G) in a project aimed at reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions, and improving the travel experience.

It can be maddening driving round and round streets looking for a parking space. So wouldn’t it be fantastic if there were a service telling you where to find the nearest free slot as soon as it becomes available?

This could be coming our way if a recent trial proves successful.

Imagine knowing where the parking spaces are before you arrive in a busy road
(Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands)

Parking technology provider AppyWay used live high definition cameras fitted to a vehicle to scan the streets looking for free spaces as it drove around. The footage was transmitted and processed in real-time over Vodafone’s 5G network and the parking availability data sent to the AppyParking app.

So app users would be given the very latest data, saving time and fuel – around 30% of cars in city centres are driving round looking for somewhere to park, research suggests.

AppyWay’s 5G-enabled vehicle scans for kerbside parking spaces and combines this with location data shared in real-time over a 5G network to verify parking availability.

Connected tram trial 

In another project, trams fitted with 5G tech will allow onboard CCTV images to be transmitted to the regional control centre in real-time, enabling better management of the system that should reduce congestion and improve passenger safety. Currently footage is downloaded after the tram returns to the depot.

Sensors will also monitor motor and battery performance and share the data in real-time, ensuring that the trams are running efficiently. Maintenance teams will be forewarned of potential issues and be able to schedule a service before the tram breaks down.

Commenting on the partnership, Anne Sheehan, Director, Vodafone Business UK, said: “We’re hugely excited to be working on such innovative projects here in the West Midlands. We believe 5G has the potential to revolutionise transport.

“Its ultra-high bandwidth and low latency are perfect for real-time interactions that will underpin solutions to some of the biggest transport issues we face today, such as congestion and emission levels.

“It’s fantastic to be able to explore such solutions as part of the 5G Testbed.”

Transport for West Midlands and West Midlands 5G will also co-develop other new 5G transport systems to be deployed in the region.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We have seen how vital good connectivity is during this pandemic, not only keeping many businesses going, but keeping friends and families connected.

“That is why I want the West Midlands to be at the forefront of 5G, using the technology to find new ways of working, travelling and staying connected.”

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