Don Sandbrook, founder of Frogparking, has developed car
parking sensors which detect when a car arrives and leaves,
sending this information to drivers looking for a space.
A cutting-edge form of technology designed to help
drivers find parking spots is being trialled in a street
running off one of New Zealand's busiest roads.
Thirty-six solar-powered parking sensors developed by
Palmerston North company Frogparking have been installed in
parking spaces off Bellwood Avenue, off Dominion Road.
The sensors detect when a car has parked over top of them and
when they leave, sending this information wirelessly to a
digital sign on the main thoroughfare.
Drivers can tell simply by looking at the sign on Dominion
how many spaces are available and whether they should bother
turning into Bellwood Avenue.
Don Sandbrook, founder of Frogparking, said the trial
agreement with Auckland Transport was "a major milestone" for
He was keen to see how the technology helped Auckland
"This technology will help direct motorists travelling along
a busy main road to parking spaces near a key retail area,"
"This will also reduce traffic congestion and time spent
circling the block looking for a place to park."
Auckland Transport said it was installing the parking sensors
as part of the Dominion Rd upgrade.
Surface Mount sensor. Photo / Frogparking Surface Mount
sensor. Photo / Frogparking
"The sensors and real-time information signage are currently
being trialled on Bellwood Avenue to ensure the electronic
systems operate satisfactorily," a spokesperson said.
"Upon completion of the trial, further sensors may be
installed, however this decision will be made following
consultation with our designers."
Sandbrook said the idea for Frogparking came to him about
four years ago when he saw a parking warden traipsing around
in the rain marking car tyres with chalk.
"I thought 'the poor bugger - what a job!"' I figured I could
put a device under the car to notify the warden of when the
car arrives and leaves."
Sandbrook's technology has since been rolled out all over
Palmerston North, with 2300 sensors now making life easier
He has also developed a smartphone app which enables users to
find available parking spaces and pay for their parking.
The technology is being used by Wilson Parking in Auckland's
Princes Wharf, by a hospital in South Australia, by
Christchurch Airport, and by businesses in the US and
Sandbrook said the technology had now moved on to serve a
much greater purpose than just parking enforcement.
"Anyone who manages car parking spots is a potential customer
of ours. There is a strong appetite to better understand and
manage parking use."
He said the technology could reduce traffic congestion, help
authorities understand how to price parking areas, and help
people avoid driving around in circles trying to find a
The company helped its customers monitor and analyse detailed
parking data and implement parking strategies, he said.
Commercial property investment company Smales Farm is
installing about 100 of the sensors at its two Takapuna
Smales Farm would use the cloud-based software system to
better understand how tenants and visitors use its parking
spaces, said general manager Daniel Henderson.
"We're interested in new technologies that can help us
understand usage and make the right type of parking available
to people," he said.
- Ben Chapman-Smith of nzherald.co.nz