LoRaWAN Smart Parking System architecture basics, advantages

This use case covers basics of LoRaWAN based smart parking system. It describes various elements of LoRaWAN smart parking architecture. It mentions advantages or benefits of LoRa based parking system.

Traffic congestion has become universal problem in urban areas across the world. It has been researched that about 30% of total traffic congestion occurs due to drivers in search of parking space. There are many systems developed to deal with this problem. The different wireless technologies used for this purpose include wifi, zigbee, SigFox, LoRaWAN etc.

In this application note we will see LoRaWAN based smart parking system. LoRaWAN is a RF technology which works on various frequency bands across the world viz. 868 MHz, 915 MHz, 433 MHz etc. It uses various bandwidths to support different data rates as per need.

LoRaWAN uses various protocol architectures such as mesh, star, 6LowPAN etc. The system supports many silent features such as long range (about 10 to 30 miles), low power (provides 15-20 years of battery life time), high capacity ( millions of messages per gateway) and so on. Moreover LoRaWAN provides privacy and protection against intrusion due to usage of AES-128 algorithm.

LoRaWAN smart parking system architecture

The figure-1 depicts simple architecture of LoRaWAN smart parking system. As shown it consists of LoRa sensors, LoRa Gateway (i.e. base station), Cloud and applications running in the laptop/desktop or smartphone.

• LoRa sensors:
The typical design of LoRa sensor consists of IR or proximity sensor, microcontroller, memory, LoRa transceiver etc. It is battery operated and supports long lasting battery life of about 20years. As it does not require AC, it is easy to install and maintain. The LoRa sensors are installed at various parking slots as shown. They are referred as LoRa End devices in the LoRaWAN network. These LoRa sensors are interfaced with LoRa Gateway.

• LoRa gateway:
It is similar to base station of a cellular system. It supports long range and utilized in star architecture based network. It supports multiple channels and multiple modem transceivers. It helps decode and demodulate multiple signals on one or multiple channels.

Multiple LoRa sensors (about 50K to 60K) are supported by one LoRa Gateway device. Multiple LoRa gateways are used across the city to provide connectivity in large areas of the earth. single hop wireless connectivity is used between LoRa end devices and one or many LoRa gateways.

LoRa gateways are interfaced with the cloud or network server using standard IP based communication.

• Cloud and Server based GUI Application:
The GUI application which runs either on desktop/laptop or on smartphone takes inputs from LoRa Sensors about parking slots (empty or occupied) and updates the information in the GUI as outputs for the drivers or users of the application. This information can be utilized by parking garages or dedicated parking spaces for the drivers. The GUI application has been developed using .NET, C/C++, VB etc.

LoRaWAN smart parking system working operation

Following are the steps of working of LoRaWAN parking system.
• Initially LoRa technology based sensors are installed at parking spots. These sensors determine whether parking slot is empty or not and relay informations to the LoRa gateway.
• LoRaWAN Gateway collects these informations and provides the same to the application server.
• The GUI app running in desktop/laptop/mobile utilizes information available with application server to display which slots are empty so that drivers can park the vehicles.
• As soon as driver opens the "smart parking app", all the slot positions are available which can be utilized and hence time can be saved to park the vehicle.

Advantages of LoRaWAN Smart Parking Architecture

Following are the merit/benefits/advantages of LoRaWAN smart parking system.
• Parking Owners can increase their revenue by providing easy parking service who are in need. The parking information display and meters can be installed for the service.
• It helps in reducing traffic congestion and hence will ease travelling for other commuters in the city. This will attract many to live in the city and hence will increase revenue through investments for the government establishments.
• The LoRaWAN smart parking system is easy to maintain due to long life battery powered LoRa sensors. Due to long lasting batteries maintenance costs will be less.
• Provides long range RF communication with easy to install LoRa Gateways rather than heavy and cumbersome cellular base stations. LoRa modulation helps achieve longer range.
•  Provides end to end security due to use of AES-128 security algorithm.
• The technology uses ADR (Adaptive Data Rate) and hence it provides good performance in efficient capacity utilization and achieving scalability.
• LoRa system is IPv6 and 6LoWPAN compliant.
• Tracking application does not require GPS.

LoRaWAN Related Links

Main page LoRa tutorial
LoRa Frequency Bands
LoRa protocol stack
LoRa MAC layer
LoRaWAN classes
LoRa features
LoRa Transceiver module

RF and Wireless Terminologies