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May 4, 2011 / Omar J. Peters

How Cities Can Sense Cars

Streetline is a San Francisco based company that produces technology to enable cities to sense when when parking spots are vacant or occupied – making a Sentient City.

Sensors are embedded in the parking pavement surface that wirelessly connect to a network that can provide information for drivers looking for parking and to agencies for transportation and parking operations.

Each sensor uses a magnetometer to detect the presence of large metal objects nearby. If the sensor is within two or three feet of the car, it will register a huge increase in metal,” explains Zia Yusuf, 45, the company’s chief executive. When the metal content suddenly drops, we know a car left.

So far Streetline has set up networks in areas including parts of Los Angeles, Roosevelt Island in New York City, the parking lots at Fort Totten Metro station in Washington, D.C., and a garage at the conference center in Salt Lake City’s Temple Square.

The company has also released an iPhone application called Parker, which shows drivers how many parking spots are available on blocks within the sensor network.

(via Wireless Sensor Networks Blog)

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