Wireless parking barriers use Nordic Bluetooth Low Energy technology to control access to electric vehicle parking spots and charging stations

makaio, parking, cloud

Makaio’s ‘Parketeer’ employs Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 SoC to enable smart parking barriers and wirelessly connect with nRF51822 SoC-powered gateway that relays parking spot availability data to the Cloud 

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Makaio, a Bad Homburg, Germany-based smart systems developer has selected both Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC), and nRF51822 Bluetooth LE SoC to provide the wireless connectivity for its ‘Parketeer’ smart parking-barrier solution.

Currently the subject of a pilot scheme in the city of Bad Homburg, the smart parking barriers protect parking spaces and charging stations designated for use by electric vehicles (EVs). Each barrier incorporates a nRF52832 SoC providing Bluetooth LE connectivity between the EV driver’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone, as well as between adjacent barriers and a Nordic nRF51822 SoC-based Laird RM186-SM-powered gateway. The barrier-to-barrier connectivity allows a barrier that is in RF range of the driver’s smartphone to instruct an out-of-range barrier to open if the space it protects is the driver’s preference. The gateway relays parking spot availability data to and from the Cloud via Long Range Wireless Area Network (LoRaWAN) technology. The barriers, manufactured by Designated Parking Corp. in the U.S., were originally 868MHz remote control-operated but were upgraded to Bluetooth LE to provide the additional functionality.

In operation, when a driver needs to locate a parking spot and/or charging station, they can use the ‘Parketeer Bad Homburg’ iOS and Android smartphone app to both locate available parking spots, as well as reserve that spot to ensure its availability when they reach their destination. When the parking spot is reserved, the request is sent via the Cloud to the gateway, preventing that parking spot being accessed by another user. As the user approaches an available or reserved parking spot, they connect to the barrier via the Parketeer Bad Homburg app using the Nordic SoC’s Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity. Once payment has been validated, the parking barrier is lowered enabling access to the parking spot. The barrier in turn relays this data to the gateway, which updates parking spot availability data on the server via the Cloud to inform other users of current availability.
To avoid frequent battery replacement power consumption was a very important factor in the decision to use a Nordic Bluetooth LE SoC
Christoph Schramm, Makaio

When the driver returns to their vehicle and exits the parking space, they press ‘stop parking’ in the app, the barrier is raised, and the customer’s account is billed for the time they occupied the parking spot. From the app the driver can also see the length of time they have been parked at the charging station.

Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines an 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The nRF52832 SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. The nRF52832 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs.

“To avoid frequent battery replacement power consumption was a very important factor in the decision to use a Nordic Bluetooth LE SoC,” says Christoph Schramm, Makaio CEO. “The SoC’s ability to perform over-the-air device firmware updates [OTA-DFU] was also really important, because we wanted to avoid disassembling the waterproof barriers every time we introduced a firmware enhancement.

“Nordic’s DevZone is a huge community which provided great support during development. We received helpful answers to our technical queries very quickly.”