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2016 13th IEEE Annual Consumer Communications & Networking Conference (CCNC)

M-Parking: Vehicle Parking Guidance System using

Hierarchical Wireless Sensor Networks
Sarang Deshpande
Samsung R&D Institute, Bangalore, India.
Email ID: uday.sarang@{samsung.com, gmail.com}

AbstractWith an expeditious increase in the vehicle transport react to events and phenomena in the region of deployment.
in the major cities, it has become more difficult to find the free HWSNs have a wide range of applications and can be broadly
parking space to park the vehicles. Constant rise in the number of classified into monitoring and object tracking applications.
vehicles on the roads has led to increase in the unwanted traffic,
drivers frustration, delay in the transportation and increase in Some of the HWSNs applications which are used in day-
the noise and air pollution. Due to lack of proper knowledge of to-day life are surveillance, health monitoring, home care, etc.
parking space, it has become unable to utilize most of the nearby Proposed parking guidance system is composed of multiple
parking space. This work proposes an innovative approach to magnetic sensors nodes which detect the presence of the
guide the vehicle drivers to the parking space using Hierarchical vehicle in the parking space. This parking data is stored at
Wireless Sensor Networks. A three sensors per parking slot based
technique is used to distinguish the type of parked vehicles the Parking Server (PS) through intermediate nodes of the
and to find the free parking slots in the parking area. Free, HWSN. A service built on PS is used to deliver free parking
partially-occupied and occupied parking slot states information slots information based on the parking area and the parking
is stored at the Parking Server in the form of parking location layout to the users through web based application and/or smart
and the parking area layout with parking slot states marking on mobile phone applications.
it. Parking Server makes the parking information available to the
vehicle drivers by the mean of web and mobile applications for Rest of the paper is divided as follows. Section II gives a
guiding vehicles for parking. The results show that the parking quick glance on work done in the area of parking slot detection
detection with multiple passive sensor nodes per parking slot systems. Section III discusses a) the technical challenges im-
system is more energy efficient and vehicle parking detection is plementing the vehicle parking guidance system, b) proposes
as accurate as the single active sensor per parking slot system HWSN architecture for free parking slots detection, and c)
in the existing parking designs.
Index TermsHierarchical Wireless Sensor Networks; Parking briefs on various ways of delivering parking information to
Information Subscription; Vehicle Parking Guidance. the vehicle drivers via web based or smart mobile phone
applications. Section IV discusses the results obtained from
I. INTRODUCTION proposed mechanism with respect to parking slot state detec-
tion accuracy and energy efficiency. Section V concludes the
In most of the major cities across the globe, the number paper.
of vehicles has been increasing substantially in the recent
past years. With the increase in the transport vehicles, it has II. RELATED WORK
become more difficult to find the free parking space to park Some of the closely related works for parking slot detection
the vehicles. A large number of vehicles on the roads has led systems using Wireless Sensor Networks have been discussed
to increase in the unwanted traffic, drivers frustration, delay in in this section.
the transportation and increase in the noise and air pollution. Authors in [2] used a Wireless Sensor Network with 3 axis
Though there are several parking areas available across the AMR sensors, sink node, gateway and server to detect the
cities, due to lack of the proper knowledge of parking space, presence of car or long vehicles. Multiple AMR sensors have
it is unable to utilize these parking space. As per the existing been put at certain height and the data is transmitted to the
literature survey on the parking systems, there is no such sink node only when there is an abrupt variation is detected
parking guidance system which could guide the vehicle drivers at sensor node. The server node takes the responsibility
to nearby parking space. of computing whether the parking slot is occupied or not.
In this paper, an innovative approach for vehicle parking The paper talks about the number of parking slots that are
guidance system utilizing an Hierarchical Wireless Sensor occupied/free but not the exact locations of those parking slots
Network has been proposed. Hierarchical Wireless Sensor in the parking area.
Networks (HWSNs) [1] are distributed embedded systems J. Chinrungrueng et. al. [3] proposed an Optical Wireless
composed of a large number of low-cost, low-power, multi- Sensor Network to replace commonly used loop detectors for
functional autonomous sensor nodes. Each of the autonomous counting the number of available parking space. The optical
sensor nodes consists of sensor(s), computing and communica- sensor nodes have been put at the entry, exit and at some
tion elements. Once deployed in ad-hoc or planned manner, the key locations in the parking area to detect the type/size of the
sensor network provides the ability to instrument, observe, and vehicles.

978-1-4673-9292-1/16/$31.00 2016 IEEE

2016 13th IEEE Annual Consumer Communications & Networking Conference (CCNC)

Sensor Type Accuracy Energy Direction

The comparison is carried out between the sensor nodes that Pressure Passive Medium Low Omni-directional
can be used for smart parking management system [4]. An Seismic Passive Medium Low Omni-directional
analysis is conducted from a variety of sensors data ranging Magnetic Passive High Low Omni-directional
Light Passive Medium Low Omni-directional
from, acoustic, light, magnetic, etc. to detect whether a car Ultrasonic Active High High Directional
parking slot is vacant or occupied. This analysis is being used Camera Passive High High Directional
for monitoring the large area for parking slots [5]. TABLE I
Yaser E. et. al. [6] proposed a visual display system using C OMPARISON OF VARIOUS S ENSORS .
Wireless Sensor Networks called as Parking Guidance System
(PGS). By conducting extensive simulations on several kinds Table I shows the comparison between various sensor nodes
of cars, authors showed that the proposed Parking Guidance that can be used for parking slot state detection. Camera
System is self healing in any routing problems. sensors are substantial enough to be used as a free parking slots
A Collaborative Wireless Sensor Network is defined [7] in monitoring. Use of them with WSN is not favorable, as every
large parking area where the sensor nodes upon detecting the camera sensor sends information in terms of pictures. Sending
presence of vehicle send their information to the sink node a picture over a low bandwidth (256 Kbps-theoretical) is costly
with the multi-hop communications. in terms of energy usage. Additionally, operational cost of
Our work proposes an innovative Vehicle Parking Guid- camera sensors is higher than other available sensors. Due to
ance System based on Hierarchical Wireless Sensor Networks the above reasons the camera sensors should be omitted.
where the vehicle drivers get the information through web From Table I, it is clear that for higher accuracy per-
based and/or smart mobile phone based applications. Every formance, one needs to choose an active sensor (a sensor
parking slot is installed with three magnetic sensor nodes which transmits signal and receives it back) over a passive
to give the accurate information of the vehicles presence. sensor (a sensor which only receives the signal from the
Assuming that with existing parking designs, any type of target body/environment). Though active sensors give accurate
vehicle (i.e. a motorcycle or a car) can be parked in a information, usage of these sensors are not energy efficient.
given parking slot, the three sensor nodes per parking slot Consider a situation where, there is no parked vehicle that
technique helps identify the type of the parked vehicle. Based has been landed in the parking slot from a long time but still
on these three sensor nodes information, the parking slot state the active sensors will transmit the sensing signal to check if
is defined. The parking information is stored in the form of any object is present around it. This continuous sensing signal
parking location and the parking layout with parking slots transmission will drain out their battery soon. There is a trade-
marked with their states at the Parking Server. off between the active and passive sensor nodes with respect
to the accuracy of the detection of the object and the energy
III. SYSTEM DESIGN they consume for performing monitoring tasks.
Hierarchical Wireless Sensor Network (HWSN) consists of Existing types of vehicles leave the magnetic signature
hundreds of sensor nodes which sense the environment phe- behind, these magnetic signatures can be detected by the
nomenon, convert them into digital value and sends the value magnetic sensor nodes. We have proposed a three magnetic
to the base station through multi-level processing nodes. Sen- sensor nodes per parking slot based technique to detect the
sor node consists of batteries (2AA size) as a source of power, vehicles presence accurately and to distinguish between the
sensor(s) connected to ADC (Analog to Digital Converter), parked vehicle types, e.g. a motorcycle and a car.
micro-controller to process the information, flash memory to
store the information and transceiver to communicate with B. System Architecture
neighboring nodes/base station. A low power wireless com- This work proposes a fully functional Hierarchical Wireless
munication protocol called ZigBee (based on IEEE 802.15.4) Sensor Network to guide users to the free parking area. Figure
is used for communication between the nodes. Some of the 1 depicts the proposed Parking Guidance System architecture
popular sensor nodes that are being used in research fields where sensor nodes have been deployed in a planed manner.
and industries are Telosb, MicaZ, Imote, etc. This section The HWSN in a given parking area consists of multiple sensor
briefs about the technical challenges to build a parking system nodes, multiple sink nodes, one or more gateway nodes and
based on above discussed HWSN using contending sensors, a Parking Server. In every parking slot with an approximate
discusses the proposed Vehicle Parking Guidance System and area of 7ft. x 15ft., three numbers of sensor nodes have been
how the parking information is disseminated to the vehicle placed. These nodes are placed in such a way that they form
drivers for further guidance use. a triangle like structure with two parallel nodes at the front
side and one node at the rear side in the parking slot. These
A. Technical Challenges sensor nodes periodically sense the parking slot to check if
HWSN is constrained by energy, bandwidth (256Kbps), sen- any vehicle has been parked on it. If a vehicle is parked,
sor range (15m), communication range (30m) and processing sensor nodes sense the magnetic signature disseminated by
power. Taking these constraints into consideration, an energy the parked vehicle. If this sensed value is greater than the
efficient Hierarchical Wireless Sensor Network should be built predefined threshold (S ) and previously stored sensed
for vehicle parking guidance system. value, it sends sensor node state S being s occupied to
2016 13th IEEE Annual Consumer Communications & Networking Conference (CCNC)

Fig. 1. Parking Guidance System using HWSN

one hop distant sink node. If the currently sensed value is the parking system. Based on the S , PS detects the parking
greater than S but less than previously stored sensed slot the sensor node belongs to. Using sensor nodes state
value, the sensor node does not send any state information information, PS runs an algorithm (Alg. 1) to find out if the
to the sink node. This way the sensor node minimizes the parking slot has been occupied or not and if it is occupied
the number of transmissions with the sink node. If the sensor then it distinguishes the type of vehicle it has in the parking
node reads a value less than S , sensor node compares slot. Based on computed information each parking slot in the
currently sensed value with previously stored value and if the parking layout is been updated with free, partially-occupied or
previously stored value is greater than currently sensed value, occupied state. In Figure 1, Parking SubArea 2 shows above
it transmits the S being s free state to its sink node. After discussed three parking states.
every sensing iteration, sensor node modifies its previously
stored value with the currently sensed value. C. Parking Information Delivery
Free parking slots information in various parking areas
A group of parking slots have been allocated a sink node
is updated at the Parking Server at regular interval. This
such that the information transfer from deployed sensor nodes
information is made available to the end users via two ways,
in the parking slot to the sink node happens in one hop
through 1) web hosted and 2) mobile phone applications.
communication. It has been seen from previous work [8]
Web hosted information can be utilized for analyzing parking
that multi-hop communication in Wireless Sensor Networks
related data, such as, percentage of vehicle occupancy in the
leads to data losses and less throughput. Every sensor node
parking area, type of vehicles parked, time period in which
in the parking slot either sends s free or s occupied state to
vehicles enter or exit most. Vehicle drivers install a client
the sink node. The sink nodes act as the relay node with
mobile application on their smart mobile phones and subscribe
receiver mode ON for all the time. Whenever a sink node
for the parking area services from the various parking locations
receives sensor nodes state change information from any of
supported by PS. Parking Server uses Push Technology to
its allocated sensor nodes, it relays this information to the
publish the parking information as and when the parking
gateway node. Sink node transmission duty cycle is kept high
content is updated.
(e.g. 5 secs) to minimize the energy consumption due to
Vehicle drivers are shown with the parking location and
excessive transmissions to the gateway node. Moreover, if the
layout at subscribed parking areas present in the city where
sink node does not receive sensor state change information
parking slot detection systems have already been installed.
from any of its registered sensor nodes, it does not transmit
Using geo-location (GPS, carrier N/W, etc.) information as an
any information to gateway node in that duty cycle.
input to the free parking slot detection system, vehicle drivers
Gateway node is connected to the PS with infra-structured are guided to the nearest free parking slot(s) available.
network by the means of wired or wireless (i.e. WiFi) medium.
Gateway node collects the sensor state information with sensor IV. RESULTS
ids (S ) from all the available sink nodes in the parking area Simulations were run for the proposed Vehicle Parking
and transfers it to the PS at regular intervals. PS node has Guidance System (VPGS) against Single Ultrasonic (active)
the information about the deployed HWSN and the layout of Sensor node per parking slot in Castalia Simulator which is
2016 13th IEEE Annual Consumer Communications & Networking Conference (CCNC)

Alg. 1 Parking Lot State Detection Algorithm at Parking Server

1: Procedure GET PARKING L OT S TATE Parked Vehicle Detection Accuracy (Avg. data taken over 20 simulation runs)

2: If S1 = S2 = 120
VPGS Motorcycle detection
VPGS Car detection
S3 = Then 115 Ultrasonic sensor detection

Y coordinates (% in accuracy)
3: return 110
4: End If 105
5: If (S1 = S3 = )
(S2 = S3 = )
6: return 90

7: End If 85
8: If S1 = S2 = 80
S3 = Then 5 10 15 20 25 30

9: return X coordinates (Number of vehicles parked)

10: End If (a) Parking vehicle detection accuracy in Vehicle Parking Guidance
System (VPGS) and Ultrasonic sensor nodes based Parking System
11: End Procedure
Energy Consumption of the Overall HWSN System


Y coordinates (Energy consumption hW)

a framework based on OMNeT++ 4.1. A total of 90 nodes 14
Ultrasonic sensor node system
were deployed in an area of 100m x 150m (i.e. 300ft. x 500ft. 12
with 30 parking slots of dimension 7ft. x 15ft. each) area
with a group of 3 sensor nodes in each parking slot. Table
II shows the Magnetic Sensor Node Configuration used in the
simulation models. The simulations are run for the duration 6
of 5, 15 and 30mins respectively and the results are taken as 4
an average over 20 simulation iterations.

MCU TI MSP430 Mu 0
Sensor Magnetic 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
RF Transceiver CC1120 X coordinates (Simulation time in mins)
Transmission Protocol ZigBee (IEEE 802.15.4) (b) Energy consumption comparison in Vehicle Parking Guidance
Data Rate 250 Kbps System (VPGS) and Ultrasonic sensor nodes based Parking System
Battery 2AA Size batteries
Indoor Communication Range 20-30 meter Fig. 2. Vehicle detection accuracy and energy consumption for VPGS based
on active and passive sensors

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