E-charging meets parking sensors
Needs-based planning with intelligent parking spaces
Electric mobility is on the rise, especially in cities. On the one hand, this opens up a new field of business for cities, municipal utilities and energy providers in the operation of public charging stations. On the other, electric vehicles help reduce emissions and thus increase the air quality and quality of life in cities. When expanding the charging infrastructure, however, planners are frequently faced with both the technical aspects of network planning as well as the challenge of accurately determining the actual need, since many charging stations are blocked by illegally parked vehicles. The use of parking sensors promises a solution.
Charging station operators know exactly when and at which charging point electricity is currently being charged. But whether the parking spaces are being used for reasons other than charging operations, and are therefore unnecessarily blocked, is usually beyond their knowledge. This is all the more painful for the operators because electric charging points are frequently set up in central – and thus expensive – downtown areas. If their utilization is consistently impeded by parking violators, the profitability of the charging infrastructure quickly drops. This is where parking space sensors come into play: a parking sensor is attached to every parking space at the charging stations and continuously checks whether the parking spot is occupied. The result is transmitted wirelessly to the central control unit via LoRaWAN, which was specially designed for large public networks.
Needs-based planning, targeted control
By linking the operating data of the charging stations and the occupancy data of the parking spots, planners get a reliable overall image which allows them to optimize the expansion of the network strategically and efficiently, as well as continuously adapt to changing conditions – all without personnel-intensive monitoring on site. Typical questions like, "How long do vehicles stay parked after the actual charging process?", "Is the poor utilization of a charging station due to low demand, or is the charging station constantly blocked by parking violators?" or, "At what times do an especially high number of vehicles park without charging?" can be answered accurately. Here, the bandwidth of data analysis includes table overviews in Excel, graphs as well as interactive map views. Parking sensors also give operators and municipal security services the ability to monitor charging stations more efficiently. Instead of relying on hunches, they now have real-time data showing focus areas with an above-average number of parking violators at a glance. The community enforcement service can therefore be used more purposefully, which also allows the amount of fees collected to be increased.
From prototype to city-wide application
Larger infrastructure projects typically begin with a pilot project. In order to provide a quick, straightforward demonstration of the potential of parking sensors in the e-charging field, Bosch partner and smart city specialist Zenner IoT Solutions offers a demo kit that includes all the necessary components for a proof of concept. The scope of supply contains ten Bosch parking sensors, including assembly material, a gateway and the corresponding software license for the back-end. It enables planners and integrators to set up a pilot project quickly, test the parking sensor under real-world conditions and effectively demonstrate its advantages to municipal decision makers. Bosch and partners like Zenner IoT offer extensive support from in-house experts throughout the whole planning, testing and introduction phase. These experts offer consultation during the conceptual design of the e-charging solution, explain the installation of the parking sensor on site, provide support during the LoRAWAN integration and offer options for efficient data analysis.
Maintenance-free, easy to install and made to last
The parking sensors available on the market today largely fall within a comparable price range. However, the picture looks quite different if the costs over the entire length of operation are taken into account, in addition to the pure purchasing price. Specifically, these include expenses for installation, maintenance and repair. That is why, starting in development, Bosch takes an approach that keeps the total costs low over the long term. For a start, the parking sensor is maintenance-free. Unlike other products, time-intensive manual calibration is not necessary during installation or in ongoing operation. The integrated high-performance battery enables a length of operation of up to five years. In addition, the parking sensor can be installed quickly and, importantly, without needing to disturb the surface of the asphalt. The parking sensor is simply glued on. This reduces the installation time to less than ten minutes. Finally, the parking sensor offers a design that is as compact as it is rugged. The housing itself is safe to drive over and provides reliable protection against environmental influences.
Maximum protection for investments and future-proofness
Across Europe, many different cities and communities have chosen the Bosch parking sensor. They benefit from the parking sensors in multiple ways. For one, parking sensors make it possible for the e-charging infrastructure to be utilized optimally and expanded in a targeted manner. As a result, cities consistently increase the proportion of electric vehicles and make a lasting contribution to the improvement of air quality and the quality of life for people in the city thanks to reduced emissions. At the same time, customer satisfaction increases when charging stations are no longer blocked illegally. In addition, parking sensors are an ideal entry point into the smart city. Planners can use the city-wide LoRaWAN infrastructure to conveniently map additional scenarios and thereby integrate other sensors and devices, regardless of the manufacturer.