Jigmi Wangdi

A group of young individuals who call themselves 404 Found won the student category of DHI Techhack’s National Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The members—Dorji Thogmey, Tandin Penjor, Ugyen Choden, Pelden Wangchuk, and Jigme Namgyel are students of Gyalpoizhing College of Information Technology.

The group started working on the project two months prior to the competition. Their project is called Smart Parking System.

“Before we began the project, we started thinking about the problems and how we could bring solutions. We thought about the growing parking issues in our towns,” Dorji said.

Dorji added that even when people are able to get a parking, parking fee collectors lie to the drivers and charge higher rates. “That is why we wanted to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to create an automated payment system.”

How does it work?

Drivers will be registered in the App. When they sign in, they will be taken directly to a map that shows areas where parking areas are free. Green is for available spaces available and red is for the opposite. This will all be shown in the App with the help of a sensor. “We will also have Optical Character Recognition which will recognise the number plates as it is already registered in our system,” said Tandin, a member of 404 Found.

Tandin further added, “After a vehicle is parked, the driver can use the App to find the location and status of the vehicle, which will show the time and the total fees. The driver can then directly pay from the App. We are doing this so that we can generate trust and transparency in the system.”

What’s more?

The team plans to make a payment method similar to that used by telecom service providers. “Like how people buy data plans from internet providers, which enables them to use the internet, we are also planning on developing our own form of currency, where the users pay us a certain amount and we ensure that they can use the in-App currency to pay,” Tandin said.

Tandin said that many people might think that the coming of the App would render the parking fee collectors jobless. “That will not happen. We have plans to take parking fee collectors as part of our maintenance team.”

Dorji Thogmey said that the project would soon come up with a prototype. The system, he said, could be used in collaboration with other agencies for public benefit. “Once we have a full-proof prototype, we would like to approach the Thimphu Thromde with a proposal and we hope we can get their support especially to install sensors and cameras.”

Dorji said that their system could assist the police and traffic police as well. “For example, since our system will have data and information on vehicles, we can work with the police to find vehicles that they are looking for.”

The team is working on finalising the prototype and will soon launch pilot projects.

“ Through these tests, we can fix the bugs and other issues before launching it,” said Dorji Thogmey.

The National Entrepreneurship Challenge was a competition organised by DHI to celebrate the 115th National Day of Bhutan.