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​Australian app puts an end to parking tickets

That dreaded yellow envelope on your windscreen could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new smartphone app designed to help inner-city drivers avoid parking fines.

No more fines: the ParkingMaestro app. ParkingMaestro

Developed in Australia by Mark Schroder and Patrick Acheampong, in association with The University of Queensland, the ParkingMaestro app was borne out of necessity for two young men sick of getting caught out in restricted parking areas.

"Whether I was at home, at work or going out with friends, I realised my car was nearly always parked in a restricted area," said Schroder. "There are few people living in inner city areas who have their own garage and don't have to worry about when their parking is expiring."

Described as a "set and forget" solution, the app allows users to either scan street signs using the app's image recognition function or to manually enter details of parking signs or paid tickets. The app then uses the smartphone's GPS (alongside data taken from the user's movements) to calculate how long it will take to return to the car in time to move it, and then sets a reminder accordingly.

According to Schroder, inner-city drivers often park in a different spot each day making it hard to judge how long it will take to get back to the car. Other times, drivers may simply forget to move their car.

"Our solution was to develop an app that alerts you when you need to start walking back to your car, regardless of how far it is," he said.

ParkingMaestro was developed through UQ's start-up accelerator ilab, and is available for download on iPhone via the iTunes store, with availability on other platforms set to follow.