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Soham Malakar
Soham Malakar

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at malakar-soham.Medium

Parkè

Whether you are moving across town or towards your dreams, having a safe reliable spot for your transport brings a huge peace of mind. Let us have your snags. Reserve your space, drive sans worries.

Parkè is an idea I along with a few other friends had conjured in our junior year of college, because of a common problem we were facing; parking our vehicles.

I am going to divide the whole topic into the following sections:

Contents:

  • Present scenario
  • Features of Parkè
  • Prototype of Parkè
  • Challenges faced while developing Parkè
  • Expansion plans for Parkè
  • Why don't we hear about Parkè

Present scenario

Not only is driving loved around the world but also hated for the lack of proper parking spaces. All of us at some point have felt the need for a regulated and centralized parking management system while driving.

While finding a parking spot takes away huge chunk of our time, on reaching we either find it full or comes the long waiting until cars are rearranged to create bumper to bumper spaces with unreasonable rates. Making parking a tiring, tedious work with your vehicle susceptible to regular paint damages if not dents. In addition to that, many spots have a disclaimer stating that parking is at owner's risk. 

The solution to all these problems is Parkè.

Features of Parkè

Buying you time

We bring a hassle free experience at the ease of your fingertips.

Search for spots around you, select the spot which best suits your needs. We guide you through the fastest route, on reaching, the space is all yours. It is as simple as that!

Safety and security

Your vehicle is safe with our advanced safety and security measures in every verified parking spot. Fixed number of parking spots make sure every car has ample padding spaces

Passive income

One can apply for hosting their space on Parkè. After we verify, it can be up and provide them earning from this space.

Regularizing parking practices

Unregulated parking practices is an unavoidable part of our daily lives. 

No proper receipts, charging more than the rate and so on. At present date, there are no measures to monitor and stop the suspicious middle men and their questionable practices. 

Parkè ensures a convenient and cashless way to counter these issues by conducting transactions directly between customers and Parkè without involving any 3rd party.

Prototype of Parkè

There are 2 flows to this:

  1. Finding a parking spot (Customer)
  2. Listing a parking spot for others to park (Partner)

Both of these are pretty straight forward as our application guides you on how to set up the flows. Talking of application, you can choose to download the native application or use the web application to complete the flows. For more info you can visit the website.

Website of Parkè

Next is the overview of our native Customer application

Customer native application 1 Customer native application 2

And here is the overview of the native Partner application.

Partner native application

Nothing's better than a video showing the prototype in action right? So here's the clip of Parkè in action.

Challenges faced while developing Parkè

Scalability

In the back-end, our biggest challenge was to choose the appropriate database for our use case, because database is one of the most important things in an internet based application. We chose MongoDB, as it is highly scalable for a huge user base. 

Another issue we faced was regarding the fetching and showing of the nearest parking spots to our customers. Our 1st plan was to fetch all the data and find the distance between those coordinates and the customer's current location, but that was taking too much time. On further research, we implemented the same by tweaking a bit of MongoDB's Geo-spatial features.

For the database, we have different tables for storing the customer and partner data. If it would have been in the same table then fetching the data for a particular entity would be more resource intensive as it would have to search longer. It will also be easier to analyze the data while doing some business scaling.

Space

With respect to the storage of a variety of vehicles like bikes, hatchbacks, etc, the problem we faced was with the absolute spaces the vehicles take. Since the bikes, hatchbacks, etc do not have a definite size comparative ratio the only option was to physically go and check the parking spaces, which would be a drain of revenue from a business perspective. Therefore we came up with a solution of keeping the space constant for all vehicles as done in public parking spots.

Safety

As Safety is our highest concern, in order to validate the RC of the vehicle of the customer we are using our own custom API which checks the details from a trusted source and verifies the car.

Ease

Slack time of 10 mins is given between booking and reaching to prevent chaos at parking spot.

It could have been a common issue of traffic congestion if right after the spot became empty, it would show in the vicinity. To check this we have kept a 30 mins cool down for a smooth traffic flow.

Optimization

From a technical perspective, with the multitude of people using our application, it would be unwise to fetch consumer details every time the application ran. Therefore we cached local data to prevent repeated fetches.

Expansion plans for Parkè

To provide premium memberships enabling access to exclusive parking lounges with services and features such as EV charging ports, car washes, servicing, repair and maintenance options and accessory outlets. 

Setting up EV charging infrastructures throughout could be a major push to see more EV vehicles on the road and pave a road to a safer and cleaner future.

Blockchain integration for payment as this might be the future of currency exchange.

Why don't we hear about Parkè

Very intuitive question indeed, I mean if the idea is so good, we should be as famous as any on-demand transport company such as Uber.

The most important reasons why we couldn't pilot it as we expected :

Lockdown due to Covid-19

We were working on this idea remotely, therefore things took a bit longer than it should have. People were traveling less and less traveling meant less active users, empty parking spaces, less revenue for partners. Overall, there was a less user count.

Minimal funding

Since our active member count wasn't very great due to lockdown, it was tough getting funded as we didn't have good metrics to provide to investors.

Lack of mentorship

We were a bunch of college students, with not much knowledge about starting a business or running an organization.

Co-founders of Parkè

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