Auburn University Parking Services testing two new student-developed apps that show available parking spaces

Published: April 18, 2016
Font Size

Article body

Auburn University students could potentially be using apps on their smartphones to park with ease in the near future.

Two new apps, designed by Auburn students, are being tested this month in two parking lots in hopes of helping students finding empty parking spots in their respective zones.

The apps were made by the student team Parking Grid Technologies, winner of the 2015 Tiger Cage business plan competition, and Focus Engineering, an engineering firm comprised of students and located at Auburn Research Park.

Don Andrae, manager of Parking Services, has been heading this project since students approached him with the idea last year. "I think it is great that we are giving our students an opportunity to test their products so that they will be able to market it to other colleges and universities," Andrae said.

Parking Grid Technologies' app, MySmartSpot, is currently up and running in the McWhorter parking lot.

This technology is powered by above-ground sensors that detect whether or not a vehicle is parked in a certain spot. The app shows a bird's-eye diagram view of the lot with its designated zones. Vacant spots are marked in the app by green rectangles, while occupied spots are blocked off in red.

The app automatically refreshes every few seconds for a nearly live view of parking lot vacancies. For more information, visit www.parkinggridtech.com.

Focus Engineering's app, Fopark, is being tested in the Poultry Science lot and shows a high resolution picture along with what permit is required and how many available and occupied parking spots there are. Green and red circles on the parking spots show whether a spot is vacant or occupied, respectively.

This app also automatically refreshes to give the most current statistics of the parking lot. It can be found on the web at www.fopark.com or on smartphones by searching "Fopark" in the app store.

Students and faculty are invited to download both applications and test how they work in the respective lots. Parking Services will make a decision on which app to implement based on the evaluation of the product and the comments received.

This test of the two apps can potentially have a large impact on how parking is managed on campus. Each app and method of detecting vacant spots are much cheaper than traditional means. The most effective app will eventually be implemented in lots across campus, which would take around three years to implement.

Students, employees, alumni and fans will be encouraged to use the implemented app for both gameday and everyday parking.

"We think that the next two areas would be the Stadium Deck and the Arena lots which we would like to have completed by the start of the fall semester," Andrae said. "We would then implement the sensors in the Coliseum and Magnolia/Donahue lots during the fall break. The remainder of the campus would follow and we would hope to have the entire campus completed by the end of fall 2018."

Parking Services welcomes all opinions and suggestions on each app. Comments can be sent to parking@auburn.edu.