The technology that could make parking misery in Harrogate vanish for good

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Finding a place to park is perhaps one of the most common bugbears for motorists trying to navigate cities and towns.

Read more: Why free parking is the solution to Harrogate’s problems
Read more: Controversial parking charges in Leeds scrapped
However a tech company is seeking to make this stressful process more manageable by providing real time data to drivers as to where spare spaces are located.

tis  Harrogate town centre.  (130228M2a)

tis Harrogate town centre. (130228M2a)

Using thousands of sensors located on a town’s roads, it directs users to free parking spaces via the satellite navigation systems on their smart phones.

AppyParking launched the technology in Harrogate before anywhere else in the world earlier this year and already council bosses are saying it is improving the user experience for residents and visitors.

It has around 2,000 sensors placed around the spa town which are battery operated and communicate with mobile phones via blue tooth technology.

After locating free spaces, the technology guides drivers to the space and then even allows to begin paying their parking charge at the touch of a button.

Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council have both invested £45,000 grand each into the project and Calderdale Council is thought to be the next local authority to take on the technology.

AppyParking has now just closed a £7.6 million Series A round which it says will be used to focus on international growth plans to take its technology around the planet.

Investors include the likes of Hyundai and Sumitomo Corporation as the technology seen in Harrogate prepares to be replicated around the world.

Dan Hubert, founder and chief executive of AppyParking said: “Across the world ‘Smart City’ projects are underway to develop autonomous vehicle and intelligent mobility solutions to help save our cities from grinding to a standstill.

“The challenge is real and technological innovation is racing ahead of the legacy infrastructure in place to manage a key piece of city real estate – the kerb.

“By empowering local authorities with the tools that help them better manage and open up their kerbside, we’re helping them to address key issues like congestion and air quality, whilst also laying the future foundations for truly sustainable intelligent mobility.

“It’s a real achievement for the whole team to secure this investment and I’m extremely excited to have Hyundai and Sumitomo on board to support our mission. Work is already underway to take our mission global as we aim to make the humble kerb work for everyone, and help cities thrive.”

AppyParking was founded in 2013 and ultimately aims to help prepare cities for the rise of autonomous vehicles.

Mr Hubert took this technology onto Dragon’s Den but turned down two offers from the panel to invest into it, preferring to grow the business his own way.

Last year the company began mapping all of Greater London’s restricted road network in high definition, up to an accuracy of 3cm.

It now hosts the largest data set of the UK’s kerbside restrictions, with more than 400 towns and cities forecasted to be mapped by the end of this year.

Takashi Yamana, president and CEO of Sumitomo Corporation Europe, said: “With existing mobility service across the Nordic region and ‘Smart City’ projects in Europe and Asia, we expect through this investment we can harness AppyParking’s technology and innovative approach to support these existing businesses, whilst of course helping accelerate their growth internationally.”