NP - Bridging
Hello self-thinking parking system!
NP-Bridging is a multidisciplinary practice, based in Antwerp, working on architectural projects at different scales. De Hangar, located at ‘t Eilandje in Antwerp, is one of their renovation and expansion projects.
An old historic warehouse along the River Scheldt transformed into a modern center with public space, commercial functions, office space (including our icapps office), a restaurant and parking space.
NP-Bridging asked us to turn the former office parking into a self-thinking system that fits the dynamic nature of the De Hangar project.
From an inefficient office parking to a self-thinking system
Upon the implementation of our software, the parking underneath the building was closed for the public. This meant that 150 parking spots remained empty during weekends and holidays. With the city’s shortage of parking spots in mind, this was quite a shame. There was a need for a smarter and more efficient system which makes part of the parking spots publicly accessible to increase the use and the value of the parking area.
That’s when NP-Bridging knocked on our doors. The company has a clear view of the growth of the De hangar building. Together with the companies located in the building they want to create a vibrant and innovative environment for young dynamic organisations. Therefore, we were very happy NP Bridging turned to us and trusted us as their partner for this project.
To support the smart parking system we built a web app that makes the parking spots easily manageable. The app is used by the companies located at De Hangar. By logging in, they can manage their contracts for parking spots, add a client to the system, get access to their invoices etc. The web app is made in React, which enables us to seamlessly expand to a mobile app later on.
What's so smart about the system?
The smart parking lot below the De Hangar building is now up and running. 150 available parking spots are now partly publicly accessible, partly reserved for the member companies.
Every company based in the building can pay for several contracts which give the right to a parking spot everyday. Using license plate recognition, the smart system automatically grants access to the cars with registered license plates.
Companies can also add license plates of clients to the system on the basis of their email addresses. Afterwards, invoicing will be automated. Visitors with non-registered plates can easily park too, but they have to pay at the terminal before leaving the parking area in order to open the barrier.
Dynamic pricing through Machine Learning
For now, day-trippers are paying the fixed price of €3,5 before leaving the parking. But in the near future, the prices will be set dynamically according to the real-time occupancy.
By implementing Machine Learning, algorithms and statistical models will assess the amount of occupied parking spots. Prices will be based on the laws of supply and demand: high demand means that the parking spots are scarce and so prices will be higher, and vice versa.
Companies located in De Hangar will still pay the fixed prices as stated in their contracts.
Building a backend to control physical objects (like the barrier) in real time was quite challenging. The backend integration with third parties and software turned out as a complex mission. For example: a camera, connected to a local network, scans the license plates from the cars entering and leaving the parking area. To communicate with the other data in the cloud we used a small computer as an interface between the camera and the cloud. Together with NP Bridging, our developers managed all this very well!
The web app as well as the whole smart-system are now built for only one parking area. But by uploading the ground plan of a new parking lot we can run the system and the app on any other project. That’s why NP Bridging is already in contact with other parking operators. Plans are to take this system international!
We’d be happy to tell you more about our work, as well as the possibilities for your organization.