A new cashless, ticketless, user-friendly parking app is set to take the hassle out of parking using license plate recognition (LPR) technology.
KaChing, which officially launched yesterday, uses LPR technology to open the boom when users arrive at and leave a parking lot, and automatically deducts the parking fee from their credit cards or pre-paid accounts.
The KaChing Parking app is available on the Apple iStore and Google Play Store. The service first launched in 2015 on a commercial pilot basis. It is already available at Melrose Arch, Campus Square and Morningside shopping centres, and will be available at Pavillion (Durban) and Thrupps (Johannesburg) shopping centres shortly. There are also plans to expand to other South African shopping spots.
Jaco Marais, co-founder of KaChing, explains why he and other co-founders, William Cosby and Rudolph de Wet created the service. “As drivers ourselves, we understand the frustration of waiting in queues to pay for parking and get through the boom. We figured there had to be a better way, and decided to use technology to create an innovative solution.”
LPR captures photographic video or still images of license plates. These are processed by a series of algorithms that provide an alpha numeric conversion, which in this case is compared to KaChing’s database of registered users.
De Wet comments: “LPR is just one cog in a much larger machine, and putting all the different pieces together and getting them working in unison is where the magic happens.
“Reading tens of thousands of license plates a day on a variety of sites brings with it requirements for best-in-class connectivity and a robust, scalable cloud platform to handle all of these requests and respond within less than a second. With new technology there is always the fear that you’ll get stuck at a boom, but we’ve taken great care and consideration of specific local conditions and constraints and put measures in place to mitigate this risk completely.”
Over and above ensuring smooth operation, KaChing also offers landlords and users a host of security benefits. Landlords are presented with a “watchlist” of suspicious vehicles and alerted when one of these vehicles enters their premises, while users get a notification as soon as their vehicle leaves a parking area, giving them vital minutes to take action should their car be stolen.
Marais comments that the ROI when implementing KaChing is dramatic and easily achieved in a short period compared to conventional systems. He ends, “As we continue to develop the technology, we are excited about the new value adds we will be able to offer our partners and users.”