Where2Park: An IoT Parking System; The Competition for the Future of IoT in Toronto

Reihani, Sean, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Ku, Tsai-Hsuan, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

The technical project described in this paper discusses the development of an Internet of Things parking system named Where2Park. The project was conceptualized in response to the challenges posed by the rise of urbanism worldwide and in the United States. Urban populations are growing rapidly, and one direct consequence of such is traffic (and thus parking) congestion. Additionally, a large percentage of accidents occur in parking garages. Therefore, we decided to develop a system that could facilitate the parking process. The system involved metal detecting circuitry that would oscillate at frequencies that changed with the absence or presence of metal, and output a voltage. A connected microcontroller would detect the change in voltage, and would transmit parking spot occupancy status to a centralized receiver node. The Zigbee protocol was chosen for this due to its range and reliability. The receiver node was connected to a computer, and transmitted information over serial in order to update a graphical representation of a parking lot. A prototype was successfully created, albeit with some issues.

The Science, Technology, and Society research seeks to investigate the societal implications of the Internet of Things and the “smart city.” The number of IoT nodes has increased substantially, and will continue to do so at an increasing rate. The rise of IoT may usher in the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and drastically alter urban areas. Economies will be drastically altered. The policy-making behind city planning also comes into question. The increasingly pervasive presence of the Internet of Things in cities also brings with it questions of privacy, the power of corporations, etc. This is examined through the case study of the Quayside Waterfront Toronto project, in which Sidewalk labs attempted to develop a smart urban system in Toronto. The project met much opposition from civilians, and was modified as a result. Soon after, it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BS (Bachelor of Science)

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
Technical Advisor: Harry Powell
STS Advisor: Tsai Ku
Technical Team Members: Gunther Abbot, Cameron Davis, Nawar Wali

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