UMass Dartmouth student proposes drones in the air to help drivers find parking spots on the ground

Doctoral candidate Amir Ehsani Zonouz wins Siemens Mobility IDEA Contest for Smart Parking System

UMass Dartmouth Engineering PhD candidate Amir Ehsani Zonouz has won the first Siemens Mobility IDEA (Improving Design and Engineering for All) Contest for his idea of a Smart Parking System to help drivers find parking spots utilizing drone technology. 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 proposed using autonomous quadcopters to find free parking spots, determine the shortest path to that spot, and help guide drivers to the designated space either by the driver following the drone to the spot, through a mobile application or directly through a vehicle's communication system. The technology would also be able to use infrared and thermal cameras to fly at night and help monitor for heatstroke conditions.

The Mobility IDEA Contest is an initiative begun by Siemens to find innovative ideas to help solve five of the toughest challenges facing the traffic industry. Siemens will bring together its top research and development experts to hold an innovation workshop for Amir to produce a fully developed prototype of the parking drone technology

"I am immensely grateful for the support of my advisor Dr. Liudong Xing, whose guidance and involvement has been essential with this project," said Amir. "I look forward to working with Dr. Xing and the R&D team at Siemens to set up an innovation workshop to help fully develop a prototype to make this idea a reality."

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