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1. WO2020002978 - VEHICLE PARKING SPACE SHARING METHOD AND DRIVING CONTROL SYSTEM

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

VEHICLE PARKING SPACE SHARING METHOD AND DRIVING CONTROL

SYSTEM

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention is related to a vehicle parking lot system for controlling and recording vehicle access to parking areas and ensuring flexible sharing of parking spaces.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a system and method designed for recording and controlling the vehicles arriving in the car parking areas and for pre-booking of parking spaces in a certain area, and, unlike the current systems, for allowing to manage the shared spaces by not only the main parking lot administrators, but also by the lowest level of administrators or owners of each parking space.

US patent application No. US20060250278A1 (published on November 9, 2006) provides a solution for booking of unoccupied parking spaces, however, the application states that the administration of the shared spaces can be performed by the parking lot administrator, but it is not suitable for parking lots with many individual parking space administrators and / or owners.

A Spanish patent No. ES2361430B1 (published on December 27, 2011) provides a solution for the administration of the shared spaces, but it envisages the user identification over the phone where the user needs to perform call operations. This means that the system is not fully automated and the system described in this patent requires additional actions from the user.

Another Spanish patent No. ES2270725B1 (published on February 1, 2008) provides a description of the solution for parking space booking and sharing, but here the users are identified by additional devices which are used to enter a unique booking identifier and entry / exit code. Therefore, the user needs to perform additional actions to enter the parking lot and wastes his / her time for that.

European patent application No. EP2500888A1 (published on June 5, 2013) provides a solution for entry control to the booked spaces by using automatic vehicle number plate recognition together with the radio frequency identifiers. However, such a solution is complicated because of the need to additionally administer the issuance of radio frequency identifiers, their replacement, moreover, the users also have to obtain them additionally and set them up in their vehicles. Moreover, this patent only describes the parking space booking system, but this method is not suitable for parking lots with a large number of individual parking space administrators and / or owners.

The presented invention background documentation contains the following main drawbacks:

1. Solutions that are either not fully automated (i.e. requiring driver participation or phone calls, or entering a reservation code on a special device), or requiring additional costs for the installation of the identification equipment in the vehicles and performing their administrative management are used for the identification of users;

2. The administration of the shared spaces is only possible at the system administrator level.

The users of the shared space system do not have additional information tools that ensure better solutions for the potential parking space tenants or parking space owners, i.e. lower rental rates for good tenants, and higher rates or refusal to rent parking spaces for users with a low evaluation history.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a driving control system and a vehicle parking space booking and sharing method which is not characterized by the drawbacks of the solutions presented in the above mentioned documentation. It describes the entirety of the vehicle entry / exit control system and of the parking lot sharing method which records and controls the access of vehicles to a particular parking area and determines the way the parking space booking and sharing process is managed. The recording and control of the passing vehicles is implemented by recognizing vehicle number plates

and / or by identifying with other automated identification technologies. In both cases this is done automatically without any additional action by the user which makes it very user-friendly. The vehicle parking space booking and sharing method ensures the effective use of the unoccupied spaces not only at the parking lot owner / administrator level, but at all other lower levels: both for the administrator of a particular group of parking spaces and even for the owner of an individual parking space.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

Fig. 1 a schematic illustrative drawing of the system is presented. Some modes for carrying out the system may differ from the drawing in the figure;

Fig. 2 presents a drawing showing a parking space sharing system, levels of the parking space administrators and / or owners who can actively participate in the space sharing process. Some modes for carrying out the system may differ from the drawing in the figure.

THE BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

Due to the constant increase of the number of cars on the streets it has become more important to accelerate and automate the entry and the exit of the cars from vehicle parking lots or other parking areas as well as to maximize the use of parking spaces because quite often they remain unused for some time. The system presented in this invention solves these two important issues effectively.

It is common practice that certain user or vehicle identifiers are installed at the entrance or exit from the parking lot. These can include: RFID identification card scanning antenna, the readers of paper or plastic tickets with barcode or magnetic stripe, vehicle number plate recognition cameras and other solutions. Some solutions are completely automated, i.e. the drivers do not have to perform any additional actions, some solutions require additional actions from the drivers, however, this is not effective because in these cases identification takes extra time. This description presents a system that performs fully automated user identification, which makes the identification process faster compared to systems where the user needs to perform additional actions.

Fig. 1 shows a parking area entry / exit system comprising entry 1 and exit 2, entry and exit vehicle identification cameras 1.1 and 2.1, automated user identification devices 1.2 and 2.2 of another technology type, user information devices 1.3 and 2.3 which are used for the system to provide interactive information to the users about whether the system recognizes the user or not as well as other system operation information relevant to the user, the local system controller 3 and the central system controller 4.

This invention provides an effective user identification system. This system provides full automation of the parking lot or parking area entry / exit process as it does not require any additional actions from the user. The user has to perform only the standard vehicle driving actions. Such a system does not have the drawbacks of the above mentioned systems and is simpler for the user. Moreover, such entry / exit control solution takes less time, so more cars can pass through during the same unit of time.

Fig. 2 shows the vehicle parking space sharing system which includes all the possible levels of the common system set out in the table:


i.e. from the PSO owner of one parking space (Level 0) marked as 0-X all the way up to the VPSSS administrator of the entire vehicle parking space sharing system (Level 3). This sharing system includes users of the following levels:

• VPSSS administrator(s) - the highest level administrator entitled to make changes in the system and all the parking lots;

• CPSS administrator(s) - the administrator of the centralized parking space system entitled to make changes in the part which belongs to its parking lots; · LPSSA administrator(s) - the administrator of a certain parking lot. LPSSA administrator assigns the owner of each parking space who can make further administrative arrangements of his / her space(s);

• Parking space owner (PSO) who owns one or several parking spaces and wants to lease them;

• Parking space tenants (PST) - the users who want to rent the parking spaces.

Depending on the particular mode for carrying out there can be three types of parking space sharing systems:

1. Closed type system consisting of a single parking lot (site) when sharing of parking spaces is possible only in a closed system, i.e. they can only be rented and leased by users of a particular parking lot (site) group;

2. Closed corporation type system consisting of two or more even geographically distant parking lots (sites) when sharing of parking spaces is possible only in the closed system, i.e. they can only be rented and leased by users of a particular parking lot or of a parking lot group;

3. Open type system where parking spaces can be rented and leased by any system user.

Every user of the sharing system has his / her own account in the system. The account includes: user first name, last name, vehicle plate number, vehicle model and brand, the number or numbers of vehicle parking space (if he / she has a parking space and this space has an assigned number), email address, phone number, the data of the hank card which is used for deduction and / or transfer of parking fees, the details of the hank account which is used to accept the parking fees (if it is a PSO).

VPSSS, CPSS or LPSSA can activate the sharing function for a parking lot or parking lot group. Next, PSO can turn the sharing function on or turn it off completely if there is no such demand for a specific PSO. Subsequently, PSO provides the spaces for sharing in accordance with the following principles:

1. Only a user with a PSO status who wants to share his / her parking space(s) specifies in his / her account the sharing start and end dates (if more than one space is owned, the spaces to be shared should also be specified) and assigns the payment tariff type and rate desired for each sharing period.

2. Each PSO can set the desired tariff for the use of the shared parking space.

The tariff can be selected for each sharing period separately by indicating the desired rate from the tariff types entered in the system (in case of a special tariff requirement the PSO must apply to the system administrator for the initiation of the required tariff). Only one tariff can be assigned to one period. When setting up the parking spaces for sharing the PSO can choose whether the parking will be chargeable or free of charge. If the PSO sets a chargeable tariff, the potential user upon performing a search will see the possible booking options with amounts payable calculated according to the tariff and rate selected by each PSO.

3. While sharing the parking spaces, the date selection is performed by indicating the period or periods on the calendar.

4. The PSO sharing calendar can be used to set an unlimited time in the future, however, it can not exceed the duration of the system validity of the particular user’s number or group of numbers entered in the system.

5. The PSO may cancel or edit the sharing dates only if other users have not yet made a booking at that time.

6. If the space has already been booked, only the administrator can cancel or edit the booking.

7. PSO is informed by e-mail and / or by other electronic means: about the completed booking; about the parking space sharing start - at a specified time; about the parking space sharing end - at a specified time, about the fact of the delay of exiting, the actual time of delay to exit.

8. A user is shown a calendar in his / her account where he / she sees the sharing periods and can change them as well as the active bookings.

9. The administrator can make a booking of the parking space for each user. The user can see in his / her account who shared his / her parking space (the user himself / herself or the administrator) and which users have booked his / her parking space.

10. The system collects and provides information on how many times the space has been leased, for what duration, etc.

All the active users registered in the system, except for the closed type parking sharing systems where the renting permissions must be provided by CPSS or LPSSA,

can book the unoccupied parking spaces through the system booking interface accessible via an internet address. Next, the user books the parking space in the following order:

1. To find the available parking spaces for the desired period the user must enter the required period, the number of spaces, the parking lot or location (city name or city street) and perform a search.

2. Upon the completion of the search the results with service prices and space options will be shown (if there is more than one available unoccupied space).

3. The user has to select the desired service option, enter the vehicle plate number (VPN) (if it is different from the one specified in his / her account), select a payment method for parking services (if selection is available) and confirm the booking. If the booking is made by the administrator of the subscribers’ group, it is not necessary to enter the VPN, as this booking would increase the group space limit for the selected period.

4. The same user can make several bookings that do not overlap in time if the booking is made for the same VPN. If it is for another VPN, the overlap is permitted.

5. The user’s account calendar shows the active bookings and booking history.

6. The user can edit or cancel the booking.

7. The system also shows the general calendar of the available spaces for the closest time period (month).

8. While booking the parking spaces the date is selected from the calendar.

9. The user is informed by e-mail and / or by other electronic means: about the booking confirmation; about the booking validity start - at a specified time; about the booking validity end - at a specified time, about the other changes.

The payment for parking services is performed by deducting the amount payable from the hank card account at the moment of exiting from the booked space parking lot or area (adding a corresponding penalty fee to the booking amount payable if the user is exiting after the expiry of the booked time). If there are other payment methods at this parking lot (for example, an automatic pay station, payment via SMS or smart device application), before leaving the parking lot the user can choose to pay in the most convenient way and the PST can use such parking lots without entering the

hank card data in his / her account. The user can also conclude an agreement with the VPSSS company providing the services and pay for the parking services by hank transfer. In this case an invoice is generated at the end of the month as well as a detailed report of the parking sharing services and the invoice is sent by e-mail.

At the end of each month, in case of using a chargeable closed type parking sharing system, a user report is generated and emailed to the PSO users which can be used by the PSO as the basis for sending invoices for the parking of the the respective users.

The PSO may also specify an additional penalty tariff which will be applied if the PST leaves the parking space later than indicated in the booking time. The penalty fee is included in the total amount payable.

If the PST leaves the parking lot after the expiry of the booking period, i.e. later than the time booked, the PSO will be informed about this event by e-mail and / or by other electronic means.

The system automatically collects the user statistics: information on late exits of the users that can be further used to prevent the users who are frequently late from booking the parking space or to apply a higher hourly rate to them.

Also, the system uses a user rating system where both the PST and the PSO have to leave a grading score (5 points system, 5 is the highest score). This rating system can be further used to prohibit the users with lower scores to rent the parking spaces or to apply a higher rate to them. Feedback about PST and PSO is also entered.

Some mode of carrying out the system may differ from the description presented above.

The sharing method presented in this description does not include the drawbacks mentioned in the description of the invention background as it includes all

possible participants of such a system, the possible types of application of such a system and it is suitable for use from the smallest parking lot to a global system.

In order to illustrate and describe the invention the description of the best modes of carrying out the invention is presented above. This is not a detailed or restrictive description to identify the exact form or mode of carrying out. The description presented above should be viewed as an illustration and not as a restriction. It is obvious that modifications and variations may be apparent to the specialists in this field. The mode for carrying out is selected and described for the specialists in the field to better understand the principles of the present invention and their best practical application designed for the various modes for carrying out with different modifications suitable for specific use or implementation application. It is intended that the scope of the invention is defined by the claim attached to it and its equivalents where all of these mentioned terms have the broadest meaning, unless otherwise stated.

The modes for carrying out described by the specialists in the field may include modifications not deviating from the scope of the present invention as defined in the following claims.