Vehicle: Car: Parking: Free Spot
Dynamic Parking Lot Map   (+14, -1)  [vote for, against]
No more hunting

At each entrance of the parking lot there is a large sign with a map of the parking lot printed on it. In every parking space on the map, there is a bright green LED that illuminates to indicate a vacancy.

Under each parking space, imbedded in the pavement, are induction sensors like the ones used with traffic lights. They detect the presence of a large ferrous object such as a car, and update the map accordingly.

This allows parkers to easily see what spaces are available, and will reduce searching time.
-- Aq_Bi, Jan 21 2005

Automated parking system. [photojunkie, Jan 21 2005]

Wired: Searching for Parking? Try Online
General article on new parking locator technologies, including online brokering of spaces and embedded sensors. [jutta, Jul 13 2006]

But by the time you get there, someone else has taken it. Maybe the ticket you take (in such parking garages that give you a ticket) has the closest unassigned parking space number printed on it, along with a little map of how to get there.
-- Worldgineer, Jan 21 2005

+ Maybe there could be a wireless LAN in the parking lot, and people could view the dynamic free-space map on their dashboard computers.

Once you've computerized the parking lot, you can run a defragmenting program to put all the free space together, and set up a LIFO stack for filling the free space.
-- robinism, Jan 21 2005

Actualy, A parking lot with a file structure might not be that far off...

there is already a company that has created automated parking lots. [LINK]
-- photojunkie, Jan 21 2005

The Dulles Airport garage (outside DC) has sensors on each parking space, and displays at the end of each lane indicating the number of vacant spaces.
-- supercat, Jan 21 2005

That's brilliant [robin]! Defrag your car park!
-- wagster, Jan 21 2005

"Where's my car?"
"Section 32F. We put it with all of the other Trabbants."
"Section 32F has only 5 spaces!!"
"Yeah, we compressed 'em to save space."

-- shapu, Jan 21 2005

I like this idea very much. I often drive towards a seemingly empty spot (usually the one closest to the exit) only to find there is already a SMALL car parked. These lights would let me now that the spot is already taken and I can subsequently look for the second closest spot.

the links are about complete automated parking. This looks like a whole new idea to me and less costly.+
-- Susan, Jan 22 2005

A much less costly solution would involve painting a pattern inside each space and using a camera on a pole near the center of the lot for a birds eye view. Image processing software could easily translate the image into your map for display at the entrances.

An A.I. system could also suggest the best parking location for you (the blinking green LED) based on the number of cars that came before you who have not yet filled a space.
-- James Newton, Jul 13 2006

remembering where you are supposed to park based on a map you only look at briefly may be difficult. I'd like to see LEDs embedded into the road which light the way to an empty space.
-- xaviergisz, Jul 04 2007

I had this exact idea when I was 15 years old. Don't mean to sound condasending (sp?) but it was this idea verbatum. [+] absolutly love the idea.
-- evilpenguin, Jul 04 2007

random, halfbakery