In our latest Parking Talks, we heard from industry experts about the benefits of license plate recognition for parking operators and drivers. During the discussion, Jacques Jouannais, CEO of SURVISION shared examples of the benefits that LPR has for parking operators, and how it will help parking facilities develop into hubs of last-mile mobility.
What Are the Benefits of LPR for the End-User Parking Experience?
Basically, in a parking context, LPR creates better customer experience and satisfaction, and this can be illustrated with a couple of examples. If you are pre-registered, either because you rent or own a parking space, or because you booked an airport parking space, for example, both your entry and exit will be managed without the need for a ticket, a badge, waiting for a gate or paying at a kiosk. This is beneficial because it makes you feel like a VIP and changes your relationship with parking.
Let’s take another example, if you lose your ticket, that is not a problem because your license plate has been registered and so you pay the exact price of your stay. In sites not equipped with LPR, you would have to pay a big fee because the parking manager is not sure how long you have stayed.
Or, if you are a student or teacher at a university that uses LPR, you will be treated as a VIP with automatic access and easy parking because illegitimate drivers cannot enter. And so LPR changes the way you see parking because it is no longer a source of problems and wasted time, everything is much easier and much quicker.
What Are the Benefits of LPR for Parking Operators?
It comes down to lowering cost and increasing revenues, which is what parking operators are expecting. Here again, we can take a few examples. If you put an LPR camera on each entry and exit of your city’s car parks, you will not need to give costly badges to subscribers anymore. Instead, they can access quickly and you will not need to pay for the costly badges. Everything is dematerialized which means that you can add and retrieve subscribers without the need to give them any hardware.
Another example, with LPR there is no longer a need for ticket and payment machines anymore. Everything becomes quicker which means that there is less pollution, less traffic, and higher occupancy. These are small things which, when added together, really enhance the global operations of parking.
Let’s take another example, if you manage a kiss and fly zone at an airport, you can install LPR with no gate at the entry, and just a gate at the exit. Then, you can ask drivers to pay at the exit if they have for example stayed more than the time limit. This creates new revenue for the airport and also ensures a much more fluid kiss and fly zone, with fewer cars just waiting hours for planes. Enforcement has always struggled to address this issue, but using LPR solves the problem overnight whilst bringing new revenue for the airport.
If your facility is troubled by people who swap tickets or try to cheat the system by paying for only a few minutes when they may have stayed for days (in city center parking, for example) LPR will detect them and stop them at the exit gates, because it will detect that the plate does not match the ticket. So that is another very straightforward, simple way to increase revenues for the parking.
What Are the Trends in LPR at the Moment?
Our customers and integrators want two things, a camera that works and is cost-effective. Artificial intelligence is a great way to improve performance and add new data about the vehicles, so this is something that we will be adding in the years to come, to increase performance more. However, our performance is already very high, so we are talking about a gain of just a few tenths of a percentage. But that is still important as it is what customers are expecting from us because license plate recognition is more and more becoming the only way to access the parking. In ticketless applications where there are no payment machines for example if you cannot read the license plates, you will lose money. So, being able to correctly read the license plate at a reasonable cost is the key to the future. So that is what we are working on and that is why we are adding more artificial intelligence into our camera. But that is not the only thing that we are doing.
On the customer side of future development, from a small subcontractor position, we are seeing that the business is completely changing. And it is changing in a way that is requiring more and more technology. I talked just before about ticketless parking, well it is becoming massive in Northern Europe, and especially in the UK where more and more ticketless parking is being put in place. If you don’t have a good, cost-effective license plate recognition camera you cannot do ticketless installations, that is impossible.
You have probably heard about Reef in the USA who intended to use their parking lots as hubs of last-mile mobility for things like grocery delivery, Amazon delivery, car maintenance. So, you use your parking lots for other things, and in doing so you increase the revenue you get in each square meter of that parking lot. And all that relies on LPR in one way or another. For all these reasons, this technology is going to be massive, especially in the US within the next three or four years.
For more insight from Jacques, and to hear from Carrida and Quercus Technologies, watch the full Parking Talks discussion:
SURVISION is a global leader in License Plate Reading (LPR). Since 2001, with solutions being deployed in over 30 countries with more than 20,000 sensors thanks to a network of 300 Value Added Integrators. The quality of its R&D team allows SURVISION to work with world-class integrators for a complete set of innovative solutions for Smart-City, Smart-Parking, law enforcement, toll road collection, car-park management and for local authorities.