Tom Arnold Scholarship Winner – The Impact of Engineering on the Canadian Parking Industry

Tom Arnold Scholarship Winner – The Impact of Engineering on the Canadian Parking Industry

By Giuseppina Alfarano

It is no secret that with time the world is changing right before us. Modes of transportation have evolved from once on foot, to horses and wagons, to engine-powered vehicles.  Early vehicles started with basic automation and will soon progress to full automation driving. 

Automated vehicles are no longer science fiction and have become the future and they can provide significant benefits in parking safety. Engineers will need to accommodate change through the new design and construction in relation to the Canadian parking industry.

Think of a time there was an amazing sale happening in the mall: this could have been Boxing Day or Black Friday. Imagine you are excited to get to the mall to save on these deals and you are faced with no parking spaces available. You’re circling around and around in the parking lot trying to find a parking space, but there is not one spot to be found. Once you find parking, you might have trouble parking, whether this is reversing, frontward parking or parallel parking.  Then, before you can even get inside to see the great deals, you must find a parking machine to pay for parking. All these factors regarding parking are postponing you from getting to the sale.

Engineers can help make parking an easy, hassle-free experience allowing parkers to reach their destination quickly and efficiently. The implementation of autonomous vehicles allows this to become a reality. This lets users not to have to think twice on any aspect of parking.

Different kinds of engineers have separate roles in the design of autonomous vehicles to benefit the parking industry. Engineers assist in the creation of the automated parking system. This would require automation and robotics: implementing cameras, sensors, and robotics systems to locate parking spots and park the vehicle without human input. Mapping systems would be implemented into the vehicle’s GPS system finding the most efficient parking spaces available. Communication systems between vehicle to vehicle would allow vehicles to park efficiently. This may lead to the removal of parking signs, as autonomous vehicles would have access to this information.

Furthermore, engineers could also develop a system for fee payment once the autonomous vehicle has fully parked itself. This could be achieved by implementing an automated pay for parking program allowing the autonomous vehicle being able to determine the parking rates and durations for the user through programming. Having the user’s bank card information attached to the car, just as users have their card attached to their phone would enable this type of payment.

Users would be able to approve or decline requests for the car, prompting users to pay with given information on the duration, rate, and location of the car. This system would be attached to an app that would display receipts, as well as give alerts at different intervals during their parking duration to allow the user to renew or increase their parking time.

Engineers would assist in the new design for the parking spaces to become more efficient, allowing transportation to evolve further. The high accuracy and precision of autonomous vehicles would allow engineers to design the parking spaces to have a reduction in size to accommodate for autonomous vehicles. Engineers would also be able to reduce the size of driving isles in the parking lots. The combination of reduction in both would lead to parking lots of the same size with more parking available.

The implementation of autonomous vehicles may cause a reduction or redeployment of many jobs associated with parking enforcement, driving instructors, and chauffeurs due to the ability of technology to perform these roles at similar, or better levels. Careers associated with technology, and engineering will increase as the demand for design, construction and testing done on these vehicles increase.

The impact engineers could make in the parking industry would ultimately allow users to travel to their destination without having stress or worry about any aspect of parking.

About the author:

My name is Giuseppina Alfarano. I am a half Indian half Italian fourth year civil engineering student currently studying at Lassonde School of Engineering. I will be starting my masters of applied science in civil engineering this upcoming September 2024. I have a strong interest in the relation of all aspects of design in engineering and how artificial intelligence will shape the future of engineering. When I am not at school or participating in extra curricular events I enjoy using my free time to go to the gym. I would like to formally thank the donors for selecting me as the recipient of this award.


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