Case Study – AI In Rescue Of Car Parking Woes At The Busiest Shopping Center In England

The customer owns a famous shopping center in the suburb of Abu Dhabi. And ever since its opening, the shopping destination has been welcoming a huge number of visitors, if not millions. The customer is the proud owner of his spacious and modern mall that features the best of the best brands from the world-famous fashion designers and also shops that sell luxury goods to even the pickiest shoppers. Beyond fashion stores, it has restaurants and cafes to engage visitors in the delightful indulgences over the sumptuous dishes. During the festive seasons, especially during Christmas, the shopping center receives massive footfalls.

The owner wants to improve the technique their shoppers choose to buy and brings in more sustained scopes to take their growth story to the next level. They are also interested in adding an omni-channel shopping option to their business model. So far, it is not a concern for them. The thing that has them worrying more was the parking woes at the premises.

Challenge:

Lately, the customer realized the parking management has been a great trouble for them. The situation sometimes went unmanageable leading to confusion and chaos in the premises. At some point of time, the trouble was more than just traffic woes or visitors queuing outside the gate. They had a traditional ticket-based car access system installed at the parking lot for car park management. With time, it was observed that every visitor had to pull a ticket at the entry of the gate and kept it safe to use later during exit. Moreover, many of the visitors had to pay for parking and also used that ticket-based system. It was a time-consuming process to disperse vehicles from the premises and let in new vehicles at the parking lot. Many times, reports of car damage and huge queuing of vehicles were noticed. They received complaints from the traffic department as well regarding their inability to control the traffic at their premise which resulted in traffic chaos on the nearby streets and lanes.  

Amid this, the customer approached SynergyLabs for assistance in car park management. We scrutinized the premise of the shopping center and observed that the kind of high volume of footfall the shopping center receives every day; it needs something fully-functional, high-performance and high-end car park solutions.  And in this scenario, we realized the traditional ticket based car park access system would not fit and solve the real issue of the shopping center.

Solution:

We then approached the customer to adopt Artificial Intelligence technology for the problem. The number plate recognition (NPR or LPR) system that features AI type of machine learning and deep learning was proposed to be implemented at the car parking lot and replaced the existing model of the ticket-based car parking system.

As a replacement for the ticket-based car park system, the AI-based ticketless car park system appeared to be more convenient and easy-to-use technology for the shopping center owner.

Project Description

As we described earlier, the license plate recognition or number plate recognition technology was used on the site.

How it works

It is an automatic technology embedded with the license plate recognition, which is programmed to read the vehicle registration plates. An ANPR or automatic number plate recognition works using the AI-based cameras installed in the entryway or exit point of the car park. The tool applies computer video image recognition technology using a wide variety of Artificial Intelligence algorithms to detect license plates in the area. As soon as the vehicle moves in the entryway, the tool starts working and captures images, processes data to find real-time information about the vehicle. It extracts data from the license plate based on their registration numbers, colors, and specifications of the plates such as their make- mirrored or metal or something like special plates. In many cases, having no configuration does not affect the tools capability to scan data and give out real-time information. Integrated with the infrared technology, this AI-based license plate recognition technology gives great flexibility for images to be taken of the vehicles at any time of the day or night. So, if the system recognizes the valid car number, the car park barrier lifts to give away access, otherwise, it is not given any access.

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Once the verification is established, the vehicles need to validate their presence by providing information about their car number into the on-site system. AN ANPR offers an improved performance to ease the car park management based on different circumstances;

  • Exact car park duration
  • Permit only
  • Limited free vehicle parking
  • Paid parking

Once the information is dispatched to the smart cloud-based system, it detects different situations and improves parking compliance. The operators can have a wide array of information about the vehicle such as maximum stays, overstays or non-payment. With real-time information in hand, it is possible to manage car parks, avoid confusion and have future planning about vehicle management.

Results:

Upon implementation of the system at the premise, the shopping center found innovative solutions that replaced their cumbersome ticket-based car park access system. The system fetched the login time of the vehicle with number plate details. It is one of the key identifiers to establish validation for payment done during entry.

As opposed to the common problems faced by the customer, there was a reduction in cases of damaged vehicles and less queuing in front of the gate while the operator was away.

Overall, the system enabled the shoppers to check with their car parking time if elapsed or not from smartphones. It also provided the liberty to the users for payment. Upon receiving the SMS, users can make payment via their linked payment wallet.

The shoppers received higher convenience at entry and exit. On the other hand, the AI-based ANPR gave the operators a higher level of control over the vehicles and also additional benefits for CRM possibilities. Information extracted from the CRM can be used for marketing so that they can deliver a better shopping experience to the shoppers.

Facts About The Project

Customer:                                           Shopping Mall owner at Abu Dhabi

Project:                                                Shopping center at Abu Dhabi

Project Implementation data:              25th November, 2019

Capacity /Size:                                    5200 sq. ft

SynergyLabs products:                       ANPR  plates

                                                            AI cameras

                                                            Column Gates

                                                            Barrier Gates

Requirement of the project:                 Removal of the ticket based car park system

Special Feature of the project:            A high-scale digital ecosystem deployment with enhanced CRM possibilities