How Fetch.ai agents will reduce traffic congestion
Jan 8, 2020
In the latest in a series of articles discussing use cases for Fetch.ai’s technology, today we’re examining how parking will be optimized using Fetch.ai agents.
Imagine you need to attend a routine check-up at a hospital. At present, many people would be anxious about where they would park upon arrival. Using Fetch.ai agents, this concern is removed. You would simply tell your agent where you were driving to before you set off, and the agent would then find a place for you to park at your destination. In fact, it would do even better than that — it would find a space and reserve it, just for you to use, until you arrive.
Your agent would do this by interacting with agents that are representing car parks in close proximity to the hospital entrance. The agents representing car parks (or indeed any service) would be advertising their services in real-time to the wider network, enabling your agent to discover them. In our imagined scenario, there are four potential suitable car parks that you would be happy to use. From experience, your agent would already know your preferences regarding parking. These preferences include factors such as how far you are willing to walk from your car to the front door, and the price you are willing to pay to park somewhere. Your agent would negotiate with the agents of the four most relevant car parks it has shortlisted, ensuring it reserves the best parking spot for you at the best possible price.
The behaviour of Fetch.ai agents is based on the desire to seek economic benefit. For this reason, the agents representing the four car parks each want to charge the highest possible amount for a parking space. However, the agents also know they are competing against other agents which are offering similar services. As a result, if they charge too high a price and fail to negotiate with potential agents looking for a parking space, the car park agent will miss out on a potential trade. For this reason, each agent presents the most competitive rate it can in order to secure a deal. After all, the three agents representing the car parks which you don’t end up using, lose the opportunity to complete the trade and don’t receive any fee at all. Drivers who wish to reserve a parking space would need to pay a small micropayment. By necessity, this payment would increase with the time the space is reserved for.
The implementation of technology that was capable of finding and reserving parking spaces would be in everyone’s interests. For drivers, the hassle of finding a parking space would be eliminated. At present, in congested cities 30% of traffic is caused by drivers looking for places to park. Imagine how traffic flow would improve if road congestion was cut by this amount.
Car park operators would benefit from the technology as they would be able to increase profits by optimizing their underutilized assets — namely empty parking spaces. One way they could do this would be by incentivizing drivers (by reducing fees through dynamic pricing) to use their car parks at off-peak times, ensuring their facilities were operating at close to full capacity for as much time as possible. Finally, and not insignificantly, everyone would benefit from cleaner air and a healthier environment created by cars spending less time on the road.
A quick getaway
After attending your appointment, you wouldn’t need to make a payment for the time the car has been parked. Instead, your agent would interact with the agent representing the car park. Using already installed cameras, the car park agent would have access to your vehicle’s registration plate. It would also have access to the immutable record, found on the blockchain, of when you entered and exited the car park. The car park agent would verify this and charge you the amount owed. At this point your agent would authorize the payment from your wallet to the car park operator. A process that for you, the user, would be as effortless as it is seamless. As you don’t need to pay at the parking meter, you are able to drive away immediately and can spend more time doing the things you enjoy.