He won’t tell us what we want to hear!


He won’t tell us what we want to hear!

I had the pleasure to interview Akshay Pottathil in his lab at San Diego State University yesterday in preparation for this keynote address at PIE 2018. Here is a taste of that interview:

“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 and Keynote Speaker at 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 says. Even so called connected cars today can be hacked, like those with Onstar. “I could hack in, turn off the engine when you are going 80 mph, 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 Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, will focus on the problems with “Smart Parking and Smart Cities” in his Keynote for the Smart Parking Smart Cities Symposium” at PIE 2018

“Self driving vehicles are coming. Not today, not tomorrow, but they are coming. 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 (like Tesla or GM or BMW) to follow when developing vehicles that are ‘smart’, and there are no guidelines for cities or for that matter parking facility owners. If a parking space is an inch to short or too narrow, the Tesla won’t be able to park in it, but a human could, and probably would.” These issues, he says, along with others, will haunt the parking industry for years to come.

He has been actively involved in the global tourism, hospitality, security and trade industry since 2001. He has taught in the College of Sciences, the College of Business Administration, and the College of Arts and Letters. In 2013, Pottathil was honored as “Faculty of the Year” in Homeland Security and granted the second Presidential Leadership Fund Award. His lectures in data fusion and pattern recognition have been offered to Senior Government officials in North America, Europe, South East Asia, and the Middle East.

“The Parking is getting a short shrift as far as the Smart Cities tsunami is concerned,” says 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, are planning a Smart Parking/Smart Cities day long symposium at the 2018 PIE. The half day Smart Parking component will be held in conjunction with PIE on March 29, 2018 in Chicago.”

Our goal is 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 across the world.
  • Give an overview of the technology, both in parking and in other smart cities areas, that cities considering Smart Cities will be using.
  • Discuss the issues relating to Smart Cities (we have the data, now what?)
  • Give the attendees ideas as how to get a seat at the Smart Cities table and what they will be bringing to the party.


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John Van Horn

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