“This is Not What the Parking Industry Wants to Hear’


“This is Not What the Parking Industry Wants to Hear’

I not going to tell the parking industry what it wants to hear — I hope that’s OK,” said Akshay Pottathil, Co-Director of the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy at San Diego State University (SDSU) and keynote speaker at the SmartParking/.Smart Cities Symposium held in conjunction with the upcoming PIE 2018.

“I look at autonomous vehicles differently. To me, an autonomous vehicle is one I can hack into, take over, and crash, drive or park – in the middle of the freeway,” he said. Even so-called connected cars today can be hacked, such as those with OnStar. “I could hack in, turn off the engine when you are going 80 mph,” he said, “or in the case of cars that can park themselves, tell it to park in the middle of the street or on the freeway.”

Pottathil, who has worked with the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, will focus on the problems with “Smart Parking and Smart Cities” in his keynote address for the “Smart Parking/Smart Cities Symposium” at PIE 2018

“Autonomous vehicles are coming. Not today, not tomorrow, but they are coming,” Pottathil said. “The parking industry needs to rethink its business models. It won’t be the end of parking, but it may be the end of parking as we know it.

“There are no guidelines for private companies (such as Tesla or GM or BMW) to follow when developing vehicles that are ‘smart,’” he said, “and there are no guidelines for cities or, for that matter, parking facility owners. If a parking space is an inch too short or too narrow, the Tesla won’t be able to park in it, but a human could, and probably would.”

These issues, he said, along with others, will haunt the parking industry for years to come.

Pottathil has been actively involved in the global tourism, hospitality, security and trade industries since 2001. He has taught in the SDSU College of Sciences, the College of Business Administration, and the College of Arts and Letters.

In 2013, he was honored with a “Faculty of the Year” award in homeland security and granted the university’s second Presidential Leadership Fund award. His lectures on data fusion and pattern recognition have been offered to senior government officials in North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.


“It won’t be the end of parking, but it may be the end of parking as we know it.”


“The parking industry is getting short shrift as far as the ‘smart cities’ tsunami is concerned,” noted PIE General Manager Eric Abel. “In fact, at a meeting we attended in May featuring smart cities — a gathering of hundreds of cities and vendors — parking was not even mentioned.

“We feel this is a real issue for our industry, and in keeping with that, we are planning a daylong ‘Smart Parking/Smart Cities’ symposium at the PIE 2018 in Chicago. The half-day smart-parking component will be held March 29 in conjunction with PIE.”

Abel said, “Our goals for the symposium are to:

“Inform parking managers from municipalities, universities, airports and major business centers about the smart cities conversations that are taking place in cities, large and small, around the world.

“Give an overview of the technology, both in parking and in other smart city areas, that those considering [the concept] will be using.

“Discuss the issues relating to smart cities (we have the data; now what?).

“Give attendees ideas as how to get a seat at the smart cities table and what they should bring to it.”

Check full details at pieshow.parkingtoday.com.

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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