Local app to save motorists from parking fines

14 May 2014

A smartphone app developed with support from the University of Queensland’s ilab start-up accelerator is set to help motorists avoid parking fines.
ParkingMaestro is a “set and forget” solution that warns the user when they should start their return journey to their car, based on the distance to the vehicle and the time remaining before the parking expires.
Users either scan the street parking sign using the app’s image recognition function or manually enter the details of the sign or parking ticket. The app then tracks their movements and uses an algorithm to determine how long it will take to walk back to the car.
ParkingMaestro co-founder Mark Schroder said he developed the app with Patrick Acheampong to solve a significant issue he faced while living in Sydney and then in Brisbane.

“Whether I was at home, at work or going out with friends, I realised my car was nearly always parked in a restricted area,” he said. “There are few people living in inner city areas who have their own garage and don’t have to worry about when their parking is expiring,” Mr Schroder said.
“It is a twenty-four-hour-a-day problem.
“What compounds the issue is your car is nearly always parked in a different place every day, which can be hard to keep track of, and the time it takes to get back to your vehicle is easily misjudged, or you forget, which results in an expensive fine.
“Our solution was to develop an app that alerts you when you need to start walking back to your car, regardless of how far it is.”
Start-up accelerator ilab is a division of the University of Queensland’s main commercialisation company, UniQuest.
“Being part of ilab was fantastic. They were able to guide us through the complex process of turning an idea into a finished product,” Mr Schroder said.
“It is not until you are in the thick of developing an app that you realise how complex it is, and being able to turn to the ilab mentors for advice was absolutely invaluable.”
ilab Program Director Bernie Woodcroft said the ParkingMaestro developers were outstanding participants in ilab’s Germinate Program.
“The program provides access to industry mentors, successful entrepreneurs and funding support, giving applicants like Mark and Patrick the opportunity to develop their digital business ideas into reality.
“Parking is a huge problem in the world’s cities and I’m excited to see the continued growth of their business with this release.” he said.
ParkingMaestro is available for iPhone via iTunes and through www.parkingmaestro.com, and is being adapted for Android.
Applications are now open for the next round of the ilab Germinate Program. Visit www.ilab.com.au for more information.

About the UQ School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

The UQ School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE) offers a multifaceted suite of teaching programs, at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level, in Information Technology, Engineering Hardware, Software and Information Management, Human-Computer Interaction and Multimedia Design.
At the School of ITEE, they understand the requirements of the ICT industry and are continually advancing their programs, with strong industry consultation, to ensure UQ graduates are given the foundation for lifelong learning to respond to this exciting and constantly changing field. UQ Information Technology and Electrical Engineering students are also supported in their studies with an extensive range of state-of-the-art facilities including dedicated specialist laboratories, studios and the latest in software and production equipment.
The school boasts a strong, internationally recognised research base and through its association with a number of research centres, is a research leader in a number of fields including

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  • Ubiquitous Computing


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