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Siemens IDEA ContestECE PhD Student Amir Ehsani Zonouz has proposed a Smart Parking System that uses small drones to find free parking spots and lead cars to the spot via the shortest path. His idea has won the first place in Siemens’ Mobility IDEA (Improving Design and Engineering for All) Contest, which called for innovative ideas to help solve challenging problems facing the traffic industry. The certificate was presented to Amir by Ben Collar, director of U.S. Research & Development for Siemens Road and City Mobility on January 16, 2015.

Amir’s idea is to use quadcopters flying over parking lots to keep track of available spots. When someone drives into the area, the drones could signal to the driver —  through a mobile app or the vehicle’s onboard communications system, or by flying ahead of the car — where to go to park through the shortest route. The technology would also have the ability to utilize infrared and thermal cameras to fly at night and help monitor for heatstroke conditions.

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