SPark eliminates the need to hunt for parking by providing a user-friendly tool that identifies the number of available spots in a parking structure. The App displays a list of the different parking areas on the UCSD campus with the associated number of spots available. The parking area with the most spots will take a bigger space in the screen to allow more efficient viewing.
The system consists of two main parts. The first part is the physical part, the hardware that detects cars going in and out of a parking. We use two IR sensors side by side at a car's length, to count cars going in and out. By looking at which sensor gets activated first, we can determine whether the car is going in or out (+1 or -1). This information is collected by an Arduino and sent via UART to a Raspberry Pi, which in turn relays the information to a Firebase Database through WiFi. From the Firebase, the App and the Website pull the information for display.
SPark is my first long project. It arose as a consequence of the terrible parking situation on the UCSD campus, after a few nights circling around looking for a spot (and seeing the same cars following my same loop), I figured that there had to be a better way to do this. I told some friends about the idea and that's how SPark was born. We won a couple hackathons (Ideator, and Startup UCSD) and got into an incubator in the Qualcomm Institute, the Pepper House. On our time there we kept working on development of the App and technology. We put together a project proposal with budget, project plan, description of the technology, etc,. and presented it to the Parking Administration at UCSD. We never implemented the project at school due to a bureaucratic wall, although that was the plan for Summer 2016. It was sad for me to let the project go but I am so grateful for the skills, hard and soft, it motivated me to learn. Besides, letting a project go means there is place for a new one.