Braunschweig-based start-up AIPARK wins the Cebit Innovation Award 2018. The Braunschweig startup beat the other finalists Crashtest Security and Fire & Rescue Instructions on Monday evening. The prize is endowed with 100,000 euros.
AIPARK is a young team of seven software developers and engineers. Although the firm is developing connected car solutions like AIPARK for solving the parking problem, only three employees drive a car. The others prefer new mobility models like car/ride sharing – a way to enjoy urban mobility at far lower cost than owning a car.
AIPARK uses “Floating Car Data”, which is contributed by millions of smartphone users, to model parking occupancy at large scales. The company is feeding this data to a set of deep learning models, like artificial neural networks together with context data about demographics and local geographic characteristics. As a result, AIPARK is retrieving highly accurate models for parking vacancy at specific temporal and spatial resolution.
Demonstration AIPARK, Courtesy of AIPARK
Asked for a market entry strategy, Julian Glaab explains: “At AIPARK we expect the challenge of limited parking space to aggravate even more throughout the next couple of years. Although there are new players on the market for urban mobility like car and ride sharing, the total number of car registrations is still expected to grow in the upcoming years continuously. Cities often cannot catch up with extending capacities of their parking infrastructure, which leads to increased parking-caused traffic. These developments combined with the improved Internet-accessibility in many places created a high-volume “smart-parking”-market for solutions to enable smarter and better use of available parking space. This market for solutions like ours is growing very fast at the moment and expected to grow at double-digit rates in future as well.”
Julian elaborates further: “The key components for a successful parking platform are high-quality information, accessibility, and integration in a larger set of the corresponding service. False or outdated information is crucial for building or losing user trust. The distribution channels of how the parking platform can be accessed are just as important because drivers need to have the information in their hands as convenient and simple as possible.”
At AIPARK, the firm believes that information will be the key to solving the parking problem. That’s why they have decided to develop AIPARK as an “Intelligent Transportation System” (ITS) to provide motorists with all the necessary information about the parking situation in their immediate surrounding. This way drivers can make smart routing decisions and don’t need to drive in circles searching for a parking spot anymore. A restful API connects AIPARK with all affected parties, drivers, cities and automotive manufacturers to ensure the widespread of the system. Studies in collaboration with the Technical University of Braunschweig have shown that the AIPARK system is capable of reducing urban traffic by 25 to 35 percent when implemented at scale.
Finding Parking Slot Quickly; Courtesy of AIPARK
Being questioned on a specific target group, Julian responds: “Of course, our core focus group are motorists, especially in urban areas. However, we offer AIPARK as the smartphone app to private customers completely free of charge. From a company perspective, we are focusing on the business-to-business market with target groups ranging from car OEMs, their suppliers for navigation services, parking payment providers and last but not least – smart cities. We offer our service (parking information) cloud-based via a standardized and customizable web API. With vacancy information for more than 60 million parking spots in Germany, we are providing access to the most extensive parking area database on the market.”
Aipark was founded in 2015 by students Julian Glaab and Matthias Natho, among others, and is intended to simplify the tedious search for a free parking space in large cities. An app accesses a database with more than 60 million parking spaces, which is continuously updated via the smartphones of five million users.
The founders want to use the CEBIT prize money to develop their idea further – but at the same time use the award as a flagship for further investor search. “We’re a young company, and we need money. Investors are very welcome,” said co-founder Julian Glaab on stage.
As the company’s CEO and co-founder, Julian Glaab oversees the technical project development. He holds a dual MSc. from TU Braunschweig and the University of Rhode Island. Prior to AIPARK, Julian gained experience in decision support systems at MAN Truck & Bus and SIEMENS Mobility. In his private time, Julian is an avid sailor.