'SmartPark' system being developed for long-haul truckers

Foster-Miller, a QinetiQ North America company, has been awarded a US$396,000 contract from the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to develop an automated SmartPark system for long-haul truck drivers.
The contract Foster-Miller has been awarded is to develop an automated "SmartPark" system to make it easier for long-haul truck drivers to determine where overnight truck parking is available on major highways so they can pull off the road and rest.Currently, they often arrive at service centres that are full and are forced to park in unsafe locations.

According to the FMSCA, no method has so far been demonstrated for accurately and reliably determining the number of spaces available for truck parking. While technologies are available for cars, the same technologies may not be directly applied to trucks without some effort. Trucks pose a more serious challenge because of their variation in size and shape. A method for accurately and reliably determining the number of spaces available for truck parking spaces in real time is needed before truck drivers can be informed of the availability of safe, legal parking while they are on the road.

Foster-Miller has been given permission to use the Charlton service area on the Massachusetts Turnpike for Phase I of the programme. The system the company proposes will use video cameras mounted at the entrance and exit ramps to count vehicles entering and leaving the facility. Image processing software in the cameras will distinguish between trucks, tractors and other vehicles based on overall length.
When the software detects a vehicle entering or exiting the facility, it will signal an offsite data collection and management system (DCMS) via a wireless internet connection. The DCMS will use the data to adjust the vehicle count in real time. Eventually, the system will broadcast parking availability information to truckers.

Foster-Miller has been involved in fatigue-related human factors research for the past decade, said Dr. William Ribich, President and CEO. This is another step in our continuing commitment to helping the transportation industry address and solve problems caused by fatigue.

About Foster-Miller, Inc.

Foster-Miller, Inc. is an engineering, manufacturing and technology development firm principally located in suburban Boston, MA.
Foster-Miller was founded in 1956 by three graduates of MIT who believed there was a need for a company that could solve clients difficult technical problems through first-class analysis and design. In November 2004, it became an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of QinetiQ North America (QNA).
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