25 feb

Siemens introduces parking-spot finder app

Exasperated drivers searching for parking account for an estimated one-third of traffic in European inner cities, prompting Siemens AG to develop a radar system that tells drivers via smartphone where to look for a free spot. 

Siemens, Europe's largest engineering company, plans tests in Berlin starting in April of about 40 radar sensors mounted on street lamps. Each detector, about half a shoebox in size, scans 30 meters (100 yards) of road and uses a smartphone application to transmit information about potential spaces matching the car's size. 

"We're in talks with several cities about their parking situation and about running pilot schemes," Marcus Zwick, the head of the project, told reporters Wednesday in Munich. "We expect to launch a pilot in Dubai this year, after Berlin." 

Cities are under pressure to find ways to alleviate congestion and reduce air pollution. London authorities charge 11.50 pounds (.80) a day for vehicles entering the inner-city area. Berlin permits only low-emissions vehicles to enter its downtown. 

The Siemens system, which will be ready for a broader rollout next year, is designed to help municipalities make better use of limited space and cut congestion as well as emissions, the Munich-based company said. The network can also alert parking patrols when meters run out or a driver has failed to pay a fee. 

By Elisabeth Behrmann BLOOMBERG NEWS

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