If you’re like most people — finding parking for your car can be a nightmare.
One day my girlfriend was coming over and she called me, frustrated trying to find a place to park, from dealing with finding an open spot — how far it is from where she’s going and how much it’s going to cost. Now with my help, and her on the phone, it took over 10 minutes for us to get her a place to park her car.
Now we finally figured it out, but one thing occurred to me — What a tremendous waste of time and frustration this is on our world. And if this is our experience, how many millions of other people are going through the same thing? Every day?
So I investigated, and the numbers are fascinating really.
There are 1.5 billion cars in the world in 2022 for 7.5 billion people, meaning 1 car for every 5 people.
Now, In the US that’s much more: 290 million cars for 330 million people. That’s pretty much 1 car for every 1 person, so kind of every baby has a car, and every 4 year old has a car.
Now, on average every car in the world parks once a day, and the average time to find parking is 9 minutes. That’s 5 million workdays spent every day looking for parking, just in the US!
In terms of the effect on us and our world it means several things:
First, CO2 emissions of 5 million cars idling for the day every day. That is about 11 million tons of CO2 every year. Reducing this would make the US leader in greenhouse gas emissions curb, ahead of Europe or all other countries worldwide.
Second, one of the most comprehensive Qualities of Life Indices used by economists around the world measures eight factors (so 8 things affect our quality of life): purchasing power (including rent), safety, health care, cost of living, property price to income ratio, traffic commute time, pollution, and climate.
Parking affects dramatically 4(!) of these 8 indices! Half of our quality of life!
- Cost of living — how much do we spend on gas or fuel?
- Traffic commute time — how much time do we spend looking for parking?
- Pollution — how much pollution do we have due to our cars and others’?
- Climate — how friendly our climate is?
Back to Parking
Parking is a particular problem that we repeatedly experience every day, but I felt that not only solving it would affect all these parts of our life, but it would also lead to a much bigger and broader impact on our life by providing more information in a real-time way beyond parking!
So I looked around for solutions that were available to make parking easier and was disappointed with the inferior options that were on the market.
Imagine a bird’s-eye view of city streets that is respectful of privacy. A world where everyone can know what happened, would happen, and is happening in real-time in every city street, and can find and use that information effectively to make everyday life better.
Can we do it? The world of IoT and information has already realized this vision for parking.
We can create systems that are so effective that auto manufacturers would include them in their onboard navigation systems and businesses would bring the data into their logistics systems to improve their efficiency.
How can we do it?
So how can we do it? — Artificial Intelligence – Past solutions rely on ineffective sensors that had limited coverage or crowdsourcing direct feedback from customers with few people contributing information.
Using Artificial Intelligence, we can gather data from thousands of data points and can predict real-time parking availability on a level far better than anything before.
Some of the data points we bring into the algorithm — telcos, vehicles, satellite, mobile phones — are now available more than ever before.
We can gather all of this data while protecting individual privacy by aggregating all of the data points without needing to know or even care about the individual it comes from.
We can feed all of this data into our AI machines.
What this means is that we can deploy technology worldwide and have a very real impact on our world.
Remember I told you about the CO2 emissions of cars? With AI we can reduce the average time to find parking from 9 minutes to 3 minutes. That’s like 3 million workdays spent every day looking at the stars and flowers instead of looking for parking, just in the US! Or 3 million workdays spent closing more deals or creating more software or enjoying time with family and friends!
That is about 8 million tons of CO2 saved every year. Reducing this would make the US leader in greenhouse gas emissions curb, ahead of Europe or all other countries worldwide.
And the other impacts on our quality of life? Deploying AI technology in the US would result in increasing GDP by $100B a year. Future AI technology would be equivalent to increasing GDP by $400B annually, helping lower the cost of living.
Parking takes about 30% of our driving time, and using AI can reduce 65% of that parking search time, meaning that deploying AI in the parking sector in the US would reduce fuel consumption by 20%, meaning reducing the cost of driving and fuel by 20%. So think about instead of paying $5 a gallon it reduces it to $4.
The global smart city revolution is now underway and growing exponentially. This year is focused on growth, launching new startups, and expanding the market.
Solving real people’s problems while riding the wave of IoT data — and the most effective way to monetize it — will improve our and everyone’s quality of life.
Eyal Amir is the CEO of Parknav. Named Top-10 AI Person by IEEE, Stanford University Computer Science best-PhD thesis award, AI Professor in Computer Science UIUC, Gold Medalist Olympic Rifle Shooting Israel.
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