Barcelona, January 2020
The smart parking sensor Fastprk, developed with European funding from the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, has proved its commercial value by achieving worldwide market uptake in only 18 months.
Fastprk is an advanced off-street parking solution using battery-powered sensors, embedded in the ground, to communicate occupancy data through a low-power-consumption wireless network. Information is streamed in real time and fed to multiple dashboards.
Smart city initiatives, based on the implementation of connected devices, offer a range of solutions to improve the daily life of citizens. Smart parking systems have been one of the most successful solution areas because they help optimize transport management while reducing traffic congestion, decreasing CO2 emissions.
The EU started the Fastprk2 innovation project in 2016, to develop advanced parking detection systems equipped with intelligent transport services (ITS) for cities and citizens, all merged in a single mobility platform.
Worldsensing was commissioned to develop an update of its existing parking management system by integrating new sensor hardware and software tools.
“At the beginning of the project, we noticed that magnetic sensors were struggling to achieve high accuracy due to the prevailing high magnetic noise in cities. We were able to overcome that limitation by combining both magnetic and infrared detection technologies, and created a product that increases data accuracy to more than 95%. This new technology also helps reduce costs and minimize energy consumption,” notes Víctor Sanchez, Worldsensing’s product owner.
Other areas of improvement included battery life and the mechanical robustness of the sensors, as well as advanced services such as fraud control and dynamic pricing.
The European Commission funding scheme demands that research and innovation activities deliver exploitable results, so projects have an impact on society not only during but also after the funding period.
As such, one of the highlights of the Fastprk2 project was an exploitation plan conducted during the execution period, gaining special weight in the last months of the project.
“Since the beginning of the project we had the clear ambition of integrating the innovative developments of Fastprk2 into the company’s software ecosystem, and this has been the case,” says Francisco Hernández, EU senior project manager at Worldsensing. “For over a decade, we have been providing technology to several industries and we know that efficient and cost-effective innovative products are key to addressing changing demographics and evolving consumer needs in the transportation market.”
A year and a half from the project’s completion, Worldsensing has deployed around 2500 Fastprk units. These figures are in line with the forecast scenario estimated in the project exploitation plan. Market acceptance has been global: countries where local transport authorities, traffic managers and local government transport authorities use the technology include Belgium, France, Italy, Greece, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine and the United States.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 726607.
Worldsensing is a widely recognized global IoT pioneer. Founded in 2008, the technology provider delivers Operational Intelligence to traditional industries and cities. With over 100 employees and offices in Barcelona, London, Los Angeles and Singapore, Worldsensing is globally active and has customers in over 60 countries across all continents. Worldsensing’s investors include Cisco Investments, Mitsui & Co, McRock Capital and ETF Partners, among others.