Nearly 2,800 parking sensors have been installed across Adelaide's CBD and could be in operation within weeks as the council's latest Smart City project prepares for launch.
The sensors beneath existing parks will notify a person through the Park Adelaide App if an on-street park is available, and give them the ability to pay or top up through a smartphone or device.
A City of Adelaide spokesperson said the parking would be released in phases, with the first to cover half the CBD from the west of King William Street.
"To ensure every success with the launch of Smart Parking, the team is diligently testing and cross-checking each component and integration point of the system," she said.
The council is also launching a project to monitor people movements in and around the city.
It has already installed 60 people movement sensors across the CBD and North Adelaide that can detect mobile devices.
"As part of our testing and calibrating phase, we are undertaking pedestrian, cycling and vehicle counts at selected locations where these sensors have been installed," the spokesperson said.
She said video detection devices had been installed on Hutt Street, North Terrace/Bank Street, the intersection of King William Street and North Terrace, and Gouger and Franklin streets.
"While the counts will detect volumes and people movement, the data collection will not be able to identify an individual, their mobile device or any other personal information."
Driving towards the future
Both projects reflect the council's participation in the Australian Smart Cities Consortium (ASCC), which is led by Associate Professor Nick Falkner from the University of Adelaide's School of Computer Science.
The ASCC was launched early last year, with its management committee involved in projects such as improving urban transportation and rainwater harvesting, turning smartphones into location-sensitive tour guides, and smart parking.
Professor Falkner said such initiatives could help replace the need for expensive, multi-storey car parks once autonomous vehicles arrived in "large numbers" in the next eight to 15 years.
"It costs roughly $1,000 per square metre to build a vertical car park, and for each car you need about 30 square metres for all the roads and ramps as well ... that's about $30,000 for each carpark, not counting land value," he said.
"You start to think, if all these [driverless] cars will be moving around and people won't be parking the same way, should I be building multi-storey car parks?
"This has made people think very differently about something that's been a safe bet for 70 years."
Virtual replication of cities
Professor Falkner pointed to Virtual Singapore as a great example of another project he would like to see pursued in Adelaide through the ASCC.
It is a data-driven identical twin to the city-state that allows researchers, entrepreneurs and planners to experiment and validate planned services in a virtual world before they were implemented in real life.
This can include simulating anything from vegetation coverage and water run-off to analysing traffic and pedestrian flows, bike width for planned cycling routes, or virtual drone flyover routes to discern the best video angle before getting air-space permission to do the real thing.
"Singapore is a combination of an old city and a new city and the two co-exist," Professor Falkner said.
"There are some parts where they can't rebuild and there are some parts where they rebuild at a speed that is terrifying.
"We like that idea and it's something we really want to do here."
Privacy models an 'export opportunity'
Professor Falkner also believes modern cities and their ever-increasing streams of data collection need to be built on "ethical principles" that protect people's privacy long term — an approach starting to gain momentum overseas.
"The potential for misuse his high, the potential for accidental leakage is high, and we've just seen all this stuff come out of Europe for the general data protection regulations that changes the way people think about data and who owns it," he said.
"I think we'll end up with a far more sustainable approach because nobody wants to front Congress; [Facebook's] Mark Zuckerberg could not have been more uncomfortable.
He said developing encryption software and data auditing methods that took a more lean approach to how much personal information was stored represented an export potential for South Australia.
"That kind of technology developed here would have zero weight, no freight problems, and it could be developed in a beautiful city with a very high standard of living.
"There are so many people interested in what's going on in Adelaide at the moment, and there is an enormous amount of potential business investment.
"We've got the [former] GM-Holden plant in the north becoming available, we've got the Tonsley plant in the south, and we've got the [old] Royal Adelaide Hospital site.
"I can't think of a city in the world at this level of stability and development that has three innovation precincts up for development simultaneously."
He said the GigCity initiative to supply Adelaide businesses with internet speeds of between one or 10 gigabits per second, and the council's Ten Gigabit Adelaide scheme, were also drawing attention from entrepreneurs and the technologically savvy.
Examples of outside thinking
But the Smart City space does not necessarily have to involve the latest technologies or focus on an urban context, Professor Falkner said.
"We call ourselves smart cities, but we think about all people living together; there's a phrase I often use by [architect] Le Corbusier: 'A house is a machine for living.'
"It's a beautiful expression and for us a city is a machine for living with other people."
He said his role as ASCC director was in matchmaking, disseminating "all the opportunities and promoting all the good things universities are doing", and bringing people together to form collaborative groups.
This includes working with a number of faculties, academics and people outside of computing and engineering in a flexible mechanism that seeks to address multi-faceted problems in human habitats.
By way of example, he has brought onboard project officer Catherine Grace, a Canadian medical doctor who was working in the United Kingdom before travelling to Adelaide where she spent time working at the SA Health and Medical Research Institute.
"To be part of something where you can shape the city for the future, to make it somewhere that's liveable and fantastic and smart ... I couldn't be happier with what I'm doing," Dr Grace said.
"It takes a visionary like Nick to see that you can get people from all sorts of backgrounds, with different skill sets, to incorporate that into a holistic vision for the future of the city."Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-03/parking-pedestrian-sensors-installed-adelaide-smart-city-project/10063412