Intelligent parking drone named winner of Siemens' first Mobility IDEA Contest

July 8, 2015
Safe pedestrian crossings and self-parking autonomous vehicle technology ideas place second and third.

Siemens announced UMass Dartmouth student Amir Ehsani Zonouz has won the first Mobility IDEA (Improving Design and Engineering for All) Contest, an initiative to find innovative ideas to help solve five of the toughest challenges facing the traffic industry. Zonouz decided to use quadcopters, a type of small-scale drone, that help find free spots and guide drivers to the designated space either by the driver following the drone to the spot via a mobile app or directly through a car’s own communication system.

Siemens will bring together its top research and development experts to hold an innovation workshop for contest winner Ehsani Zonouz to produce a fully developed prototype of the parking drone technology.

The second place idea was submitted by Clemson University student Sakib Khan for technology that allows for safe pedestrian crossings and third place submitted by Technical University Munich student Sasan Amini on self-parking autonomous vehicles. All winning ideas were submitted by university-level students.

Siemens will present Clemson University with a $50,000 in-kind software grant for achieving the highest level of submissions per university to help train future engineers. Siemens will also reward the additional top two ranking universities by number of submissions, Anadolu University in Turkey and India’s National Institute of Design, with traffic control software grants worth $50,000.

“This contest brought in a wealth of interesting, innovative and forward-thinking ideas to help solve our greatest traffic challenges. But, with thirty percent of downtown traffic created by people looking for parking spaces, the judges found Zonouz’s idea to utilize drones to monitor and identify parking spots the most innovative and potentially impactful idea in this contest,” said Ben Collar, head of U.S. Research & Development for Siemens Road and City Mobility. “Having all three winners of this first contest of its kind at Siemens come from university level only further proves the importance of developing the great minds of tomorrow to help solve our most pressing challenges.”