UK startup raises millions for driverless parking system
A British tech start-up aims to raise tens of millions of pounds to build a complete map of parking spaces to allow driverless cars to find a spot and put wardens out of business.
AppyParking, founded in 2013, has raised £2.25m from two early stage investors in preparation for a much bigger funding round next year.
The initial cash injection comes from Aviva Ventures, the insurer’s tech arm, which is already a shareholder, and Breed Reply, a specialist investor in so-called Internet of Things start-ups.
AppyParking founder and chief executive Dan Hubert said the money would help pay for a laser survey of Britain’s kerbsides to create accurate maps of where parking is available.
The company aims to gather nationwide data that it can sell to the likes of Google, Uber, Ford and other carmakers in the race to autonomous vehicles. Mr Hubert said tech giants did not have the wherewithal to build the necessary relationships with councils that AppyParking plans to use to turn into a seamless parking system.
Mr Hubert said: “Some councils lose money on parking enforcement.”
Drivers and driverless car passengers will pay for parking electronically via a push of a dashboard button, he said, removing the need for wardens and other enforcement measures. AppyParking is piloting such a system in Westminster, with sensors embedded in parking spaces to detect when they are occupied and allow instant cashless payment.
The system also relies on the mobile network connections that are being fitted to new vehicles, and added to existing commercial fleets.
AppyParking’s main current service for drivers is a smartphone app that provides information on parking restrictions and tariffs.