Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR THE CONTROL OF VEHICLE OPERATIONS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/205941
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a system and method for the control of vehicle operations. In one aspect, the system facilitates monitoring of parking for vehicles. A parking process is arranged to obtain parking data associated with a client device, which may be a smartphone or tablet or an on-board processor of an autonomous vehicle. The parking data advises the location of the vehicle and a vehicle identifier, and the system determines whether the vehicle is validly parked. This system has the advantage of obviating the need for parking infrastructure, such as parking meters. In another aspect, the system facilitates payment for obtaining fuel for a vehicle. The amount of fuel is automatically determined and a client account is accessed for automatic payment for the fuel.

Inventors:
KANGA, Rustom (19 Elgin Street, Gordon, New South Wales 2072, 2072, AU)
LI, Ivy Lai Chun (19 Elgin Street, Gordon, New South Wales 2072, 2072, AU)
Application Number:
AU2017/050547
Publication Date:
December 07, 2017
Filing Date:
June 05, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
IOMNISCIENT PTY LTD (19 Elgin Street, Gordon, New South Wales 2072, 2072, AU)
International Classes:
G06Q20/00; G06Q30/04; G06Q50/30; G07B15/02; G08G1/14
Foreign References:
US20150221139A12015-08-06
US20120310712A12012-12-06
US20150149263A12015-05-28
US20120143657A12012-06-07
US20130232019A12013-09-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GRIFFITH HACK (Level 29 Northpoint, 100 Miller StreetNorth Sydney, New South Wales 2060, 2060, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A system for facilitating monitoring of vehicle parking, comprising a computer having a processor, memory and an operating system supporting computer processes, a parking process arranged to obtain parking data associated with a remote client device, the parking data including a location identifier and a vehicle identifier, the parking process being arranged to store a parking indication in memory that a vehicle associated with the vehicle

identifier is validly parked at the location associated with the location identifier.

2. A system in accordance with Claim 1, comprising a verification process, arranged to determine whether a parking indication is associated with a vehicle identifier for an associated location, and to provide verification of the parking indication or information that there is no parking indication, to a remote attendant device.

3. A system in accordance with Claim 2, wherein the verification process is arranged to receive a vehicle identifier from a remote attendant device, and to

determine whether there is a parking indication stored for the vehicle identifier, and to transmit verification or that there is no parking indication stored, to the remote attendant device.

4. A system in accordance with Claim 1, 2 or 3, wherein the vehicle identifier is provided via a scan or

photograph of a vehicle number plate.

5. A system in accordance with any one of the preceding Claims, wherein the memory stores a database of vehicle identifiers associated with vehicles and client

identifiers for identifying clients of the system, and the system further comprises a matching process arranged to match the received vehicle identifier with the vehicle identifier stored in the database.

6. A system in accordance with Claim 5, wherein there database also stores client account details associated with the client identifier, to enable payment of parking costs .

7. A system in accordance with any one of Claims 5 or Claim 6, comprising a registration process, arranged to receive registration data from a remote client device, the registration data including a vehicle identifier and client account details associated with a client

identifier .

8. A system in accordance with any one of the preceding Claims, further comprising a payment process arranged to determine the parking cost and to initiate a payment from an account associated with the vehicle identifier.

9. A system in accordance with Claim 8, wherein the payment process is arranged to provide parking cost information to a remote client device. 10. A system in accordance with Claim 8 or Claim 9, wherein the payment process is arranged to calculate a time period during which a vehicle is parked, and to determine the parking cost based on the time period the vehicle is parked.

11. A system in accordance with Claim 10, wherein the parking process is arranged to receive a signal from the remote client device at the end of parking, and the payment process uses this signal to determine the time the vehicle associated with the client is parked.

12. A system in accordance with any one of the preceding Claims, wherein the parking process is arranged to provide alerts to remote client devices relating to one or more of:

parking costs;

parking time available.

13. A system in accordance with any one of the preceding Claims, comprising an availability process which is arranged to track parking space data and to determine parking spaces that are vacant, and arranged to make the parking space data available to the client device .

1 . A system in accordance with Claim 13, wherein the parking space data includes location data providing information on the location of the vacant car spaces.

15. A system in accordance with any one of the proceeding claims, wherein the remote client device comprises a tablet or smartphone or other computing device associated with the client.

16. A system in accordance with any one of claims 1 to 14, wherein the remote client device comprises a processor associated with an autonomous vehicle or driverless vehicle .

17. An apparatus for facilitating monitoring of vehicle parking, comprising a computing device having a processor, a memory and an operating system supporting computer processes, a client parking process, arranged to transmit parking data to a remote system for facilitating

monitoring of vehicle parking, the parking data enabling identification of a vehicle and location at which the vehicle is parked.

18. An apparatus in accordance with Claim 17, wherein the parking data includes a location identifier and a vehicle identifier . 19. An apparatus in accordance with Claim 17 or Claim 18, comprising a registration process, arranged to enable a client to provide registration data, including a vehicle identifier and client account details, to a remote system to enable a client to be registered with the remote system.

20. An apparatus in accordance with any of Claims 17 19, wherein the remote system is the system of any one Claims 1 to 16.

21. An apparatus for facilitating monitoring of vehicle parking, comprising a computing device having a processor, a memory and an operating system supporting computer processes, an attendant parking process, arranged to receive a parking indication indicating that a vehicle associated with a vehicle identifier is validly parked in an associated location, from a remote computer monitoring vehicle parking. 22. An apparatus in accordance with Claim 21, wherein the attendant process is arranged to provide a vehicle identifier to the remote system for verification of parking .

23. an apparatus in accordance with Claim 21 or Claim 22, wherein the computing device is associated with a tablet or smartphone or other device of a parking attendant.

2 . An apparatus in accordance with CIaim 21 or Claim 22, wherein the computing device is associated with a

surveillance device .

25. An apparatus in accordance with any one of Claims 21 to 24, wherein the remote system is the system of any one of Claims 1 to 16.

26. A parking system, comprising a system in accordance with any one of Claims 1 to 16 and an apparatus in accordance with any one of Claims 17 to 20.

27. A parking system, comprising a system in accordance with any one of Claims 1 to 16, and an apparatus in accordance with any one of Claims 17 to 25.

28. A computer program, comprising instructions for controlling a computer to implement a system in accordance with any one of Claims 1 to 16.

29. A computer readable medium, providing a computer program in accordance with Claim 28. 30. A data signal, comprising a computer program, in accordance with Claim 28.

31. A computer program, comprising instructions for controlling a computing device to implement an apparatus in accordance with any one of Claims 17 to 25.

32. A computer readable medium, providing a computer program in accordance with Claim 31. 33. A data signal, comprising a computer program in accordance with Claim 31.

3 . A method for facilitating monitoring of vehicle parking, comprising the steps of receiving parking data from a remote location, the parking data associated with a location identifier and a vehicle identifier, determining whether a vehicle associated with a vehicle identifier is validly parked, and storing a parking indication in memory that the associated vehicle is validly parked at the location associated with the location identifier. 35. A method in accordance with Claim 34, comprising the further step of providing verification of the parking indication to a remote attendant device.

36. A system for facilitating monitoring of vehicle parking, comprising a computer having a processor, memory and an operating system supporting computer processes, a parking availability process arranged to monitor parking space data stored in the memory, parking space data including location information on parking spaces and availability data for associated parking spaces, the parking availability process being arranged to communicate with a remote client device and provide information on location and availability of parking spaces to the remote client device.

37. A computer program, comprising instructions for controlling a computer to implement a system in accordance with Claim 36. 38. A computer-readable medium, providing a computer program in accordance with Claim 37.

39. A data signal, comprising a computer program in accordance with Claim 37.

40. A method for facilitating monitoring of vehicle parking, comprising the steps of remotely monitoring the availability of parking spaces at locations and storing parking availability data in memory, and communicating with remote client devices to provide information on the availability of parking spaces at associated locations.

41. A system for facilitating automated payment for fuel delivery, comprising a computer having a processor, memory and an operating system supporting computer processes, a fuel monitoring process arranged to obtain at least cost information relating to a fuel delivery event, a customer identification process arranged to identify a customer, and a payment process arranged to access the customer' s account information associated with the identified customer and initiate payment for the fuel delivery event.

42. A method for facilitating automated payment for fuel delivery, comprising the steps of via a fuel monitoring process, obtaining at least cost information relating to a fuel delivery event, identifying a customer associated with the fuel delivery event, and accessing account information relating to the identified customer and initiating payment for the fuel delivery event, from the account . 43. A computer program, comprising instructions for controlling a computer to implement a system in accordance with Claim 41.

44. A non-volatile computer readable medium, providing a computer program in accordance with Claim 43.

45. A data signal, comprising a computer program in accordance with Claim 43. 46. A system for providing services associated with vehicles, comprising a computer having a processor, memory and an operating system supporting computer processes, a data storage process for storing a customer

identification, a vehicle identification, and a service process arranged to determine the status of a vehicle and provide services according to the status.

47. A method for providing services associated with vehicles, comprising the steps of storing vehicle

identification and customer identification, communicating with remote devices in relation to the vehicle and customer, and determining the status of a vehicle and providing services according to the status of the vehicle.

Description:
A SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR THE CONTROL OF VEHICLE OPERATIONS

Field of the Invention The present invention relates to a system and method for the control of vehicle operations, and, particularly, but not exclusively, to an apparatus and method for facilitating monitoring of vehicle parking, to an

apparatus and method for facilitating refueling of vehicles, and for providing other vehicle services.

Background of the Invention

There are currently a number of operations associated with vehicles that require a great deal of infrastructure and manual operation. These include vehicle parking, particularly parking in the street, which requires parking meter infrastructure and parking rangers. This also includes obtaining fuel for a vehicle, which requires manned fueling stations and human operation to take payment and monitor fueling. It also includes other vehicle - associated operations.

On-street vehicle parking is conventionally managed by the use of parking meters or similar devices. Parking meters are installed in locations proximate to car parking spaces designated in the street. In some cases, there may be no designated car parking spaces, but meters are installed nevertheless and able to print tickets that can be displayed on the car dashboard verifying that the vehicle is legally parked. In cases where there are designated spaces, the meters may request entry of a designated space number and parking can be verified and associated with the space number entered.

There are many variations on the parking meter system that all require parking meter infrastructure, and an ability to receive cash or debit an account of a client (e.g. client's credit card) or other allowance for parking, to associate the funds received or the allowance with a vehicle parked in the area associated with the parking meter.

Parking attendants are able to manually check the parking meters and the vehicles parked in the area, to determine whether or not the vehicles are validly parked. This can be done by way of a ticket displayed on the vehicle (printed by the parking meter) or accessing a display on the parking meter to confirm that a car is validly parked in a designated space, or in any other known way.

The use of parking meters requires considerable expense in installation and maintenance of parking meter

infrastructure. It also involves expense in payment of parking attendants to patrol parking areas, verify parking and issue and process infringement notices.

Another problem associated with vehicles relates to the delivery of fuel/petrol (gas) stations. At peak times there is usually congestion as consumers leave their vehicle to pay for the fuel at the cashier. Sometimes customers forget to bring their wallets and do not have cash or their credit cards and only discover this after they fill their vehicles with fuel. Sometimes a vehicle is purposely driven away without paying.

Further, with the advent of self-driving and autonomous vehicles, the currently available infrastructure for dealing with vehicle operations such as parking and refueling is not fit-for-purpose . Summary of Invention

In accordance with a first aspect, the present invention provides a system for facilitating monitoring o vehicle parking, comprising a computer having a processor memory and an operating system supporting computer processes, a parking process arranged to obtain parking data associated with a client device, the parking data including a location identifier and a vehicle identifier, the parking process being arranged to store a parking indication in memory that a vehicle associated with the vehicle identifier is validly parked at the location associated with the location identifier. In an embodiment, the computer is remote from the parking location. Advantageously, in an embodiment, the computer system remotely monitors parking of the vehicle without the need for any parking meters being installed on site. In an embodiment, the remote client device may be a device associated with a client who wishes to use the parking system. It may be a smartphone, tablet or other remote computing apparatus, for example. Via the client device, the client advises the system of the vehicle identifier and the location for parking. In an

embodiment, client details may be registered with the system, and the system may be able to obtain the vehicle identifier from the registration details. Registration details may be accessed by the system from identity of the client being provided to the system. This could be done by way of the client's device identifier e.g. smartphone number. In an embodiment, the system is arranged to store client account details so that payment for parking costs can be made .

The client may be the driver of the vehicle. In other embodiments, however, the vehicle may be an autonomous vehicle or driverless . The client device may include a processor associated with the vehicle, which is arranged to provide a location identifier and vehicle identifier, or other identifier which enables the system to access a vehicle identifier and/or client identifier. The client account details will relate to the owner of the vehicle or other person associated with the operation of the vehicle.

In an embodiment the system has the advantage that it obviates the need for any parking meter infrastructure. Parking attendants are able to check with the centralized or remote system validity of vehicle parking. The client is able to pay and verify parking with the remote system without use of any meter. In an embodiment, the system is arranged to

communicate with an attendant device. The attendant device may be a remote computing apparatus, such as a tablet, smartphone, or other computing apparatus. The remote attendant device may be administered by a parking official, such as a parking "ranger". Via the remote attendant device, the ranger may identify parked vehicles and determine whether they are validly parked. In an embodiment, the system comprises a verification process arranged to determine whether a parking indication is associated with a vehicle identifier for an associated location. It may provide verification to the remote attendant device.

In an embodiment, the attendant device may be incorporated or otherwise associated with a surveillance device, such as a camera or a drone. The surveillance device may identify parked vehicles and determine, via system, whether they are validly parked. In an embodiment, a client may register with the system via their client device. Upon registration, the client may advise the system of a vehicle identifier associated with a vehicle and also account details associated with the client enabling payment for parking. In an embodiment, the vehicle identifier, and account details are stored in a database. They may be stored together with a client identifier, identifying the client. In an embodiment, the system comprises a matching process arranged to match a vehicle identifier received from a remote client device for parking, with the vehicle identifier stored in the database. In an embodiment, the matching process may not require a vehicle identifier, but may be based on another client identifier. For example, the number of a smartphone could be used to identify the client and match with vehicle identifier ( s ) for that client. If the client is associated with more than one vehicle, the parking process may request from the client's device, which vehicle is being parked. The client may enter or select the vehicle identifier via their device.

In an embodiment, the parking process is arranged to provide alerts to remote client devices relating to one or more of:

parking costs;

parking time available.

The client device can therefore advantageously monitor the cost of parking and what time is available for them to park in a particular place .

In an embodiment, the system comprises an

availability process which is arranged to track parking space data and to determine parking spaces that are vacant, and arrange to make the parking space data available to the remote client device. In an embodiment, the parking space data includes location data providing information on the location of the vacant car spaces.

In the embodiment where the system comprises an availability process, the client parking process may arranged to enable querying of the availability process to determine the availability of parking spaces at a

predetermined location. The client device may provide a location identifier to the system to enable the system to provide an indication of the availability of parking spaces at the location associated with the location identifier. In an embodiment where the client device includes a location process, such as GPS, the system may determine the location from the location process and provide parking space availability information back to the client device. The client device may be a smartphone, tablet or other computing device associated with a driver. In another embodiment, the client device may include a processor on board or otherwise associated with an autonomous or driverless vehicle and the vehicle is advised of the parking space availability information.

In accordance with a second aspect, the present invention provides an apparatus for facilitating

monitoring of vehicle parking, comprising a computing device having a processor, a memory and an operating system supporting computer processes, a client parking process, arranged to transmit parking data to a remote system for facilitating monitoring of vehicle parking, the parking data enabling identification of a vehicle and location at which the vehicle is parked.

In an embodiment, the parking data may merely be a client identifier (which could be the phone number or device number of the client's device, such as a smart phone) . The client identifier is transmitted to the system, and, where the client is registered with the system, associated vehicle identification can be obtained from the system database. Where the client device has a location technology such as GPS, the location of the device can be transmitted to the system as part of the parking data. In an embodiment, the system is the system of the first aspect of the present invention. The client parking process may be in the form of an "App" on the computing device. The computing device may be a smartphone, tablet or other portable computing device.

In another embodiment, the client parking process may be associated with an on board processor of an autonomous or driverless vehicle, or other processor associated with the autonomous or driverless vehicle.

In accordance with a third aspect, the present invention provides an apparatus for facilitating

monitoring of vehicle parking, comprising a computing device having a processor, a memory and an operating system supporting computer processes, an attendant parking process, arranged to receive a parking indication

indicating that a vehicle associated with a vehicle identifier is validly parked in an associated location, from a remote computer monitoring vehicle parking.

In an embodiment, the remote system is the system of the first aspect of the present invention.

In an embodiment, the apparatus is arranged to display the parking indication so that it can be viewed by an attendant . In an embodiment, the attendant parking process may be in the form of an "App" and the computing device may be a portable computing device, such as a tablet, smartphone or other portable device .

In an embodiment, the attendant parking process may be supported by a processor of a surveillance device, or a processor associated with a surveillance device, such as a drone or camera or other surveillance device. The

surveillance device may receive the parking indication and determine whether the vehicle associated with the vehicle identifier is validly parked.

In accordance with a fourth aspect, the present invention provides a parking system, comprising a system in accordance with the first aspect of the invention and an apparatus in accordance with the second aspect of the invention .

In an embodiment, the parking system also comprises an apparatus in accordance with the third aspect of the invention .

In accordance with a fifth aspect, the present invention provides a computer program, comprising

instructions for controlling a computer to implement a system in accordance with the first aspect of the

invention.

In accordance with a sixth aspect, the present invention provides a computer readable medium, providing a computer program in accordance with the fifth aspect of the invention.

In accordance with a seventh aspect, the present invention provides a data signal, comprising a compute program in accordance with the fifth aspect of the invention .

In accordance with an eighth aspect, the present invention provides a computer program, comprising

instructions for controlling a computing device to implement an apparatus in accordance with any one of the second or third aspects of the present invention. In accordance with a ninth aspect, the present invention provides a computer readable medium, providing a computer program in accordance with the eighth aspect of the invention.

In accordance with a tenth aspect, the present invention provides a data signal, comprising a computer program in accordance with the eighth aspect of the invention .

In accordance with an eleventh aspect, the present invention provides a method for facilitating monitoring of vehicle parking, comprising the steps of receiving parking data from a remote location, the parking data associated with a location identifier and a vehicle identifier, determining whether a vehicle associated with a vehicle identifier is validly parked, and storing a parking indication in memory that the associated vehicle is validly parked at the location associated with the location identifier.

In accordance with a twelfth aspect, the present invention provides a system for facilitating monitoring of vehicle parking, comprising a computer having a processor, memory and an operating system supporting computer processes, a parking availability process arranged to monitor parking space data stored in the memory, parking space data including location information on parking spaces and availability data for associated parking spaces, the parking availability process being arranged to communicate with a remote client device and provide information on location and availability of parking spaces to the remote client device.

The remote client device (s) may be a device

associated with a customer who wishes to park a vehicle. It may be a smartphone, a tablet or other remote computing apparatus, for example. In an embodiment, the client device comprises a client parking process arranged to obtain parking space location and availability from the system.

In an embodiment, the remote client device may be a autonomous or driverless vehicle processor. In this way, the driverless or autonomous vehicle may be provided with information on location and availability of parking spaces.

Advantageously, the system can provide information to clients via their portable devices on the availability of parking spaces at locations where the client device may be, or information to autonomous or driverless vehicles.

In accordance with a thirteenth aspect, the present invention provides a computer program, comprising

instructions for controlling a computer to implement a system in accordance with the twelfth aspect of the invention .

In accordance with a fourteenth aspect, the present invention provides a computer-readable medium, providing a computer program in accordance with the thirteenth aspect of the invention.

In accordance with a fifteenth aspect, the present invention provides a data signal, comprising a computer program in accordance with the thirteenth aspect of the invention .

In accordance with a sixteenth aspect, the present invention provides a method for facilitating monitoring of vehicle parking, comprising the steps of remotely

monitoring the availability of parking spaces at locations and storing parking availability data in memory, and communicating with remote client devices to provi

information on the availability of parking spaces

associated locations. In the above aspects of the invention, the client's account details and other vehicle details are registered with the system. This facility enables opportunity for further applications. In a further aspect of the

invention, a system which facilitates the monitoring and automatic payment for fuel delivery may be implemented.

In accordance with a seventeenth aspect, the present invention provides a system for facilitating automated payment for fuel delivery, comprising a computer having a processor, memory and an operating system supporting computer processors, a fuel monitoring process arranged to obtain at least cost information relating to a fuel delivery event, a custom identification process arranged to identify a customer, and a payment process arranged to access the customer's account information associated with the identified customer and initiate payment for the fuel delivery event.

In an embodiment, the s; stem is arranged to

communicate with a client de " " ice which comprises a client fuel process, and advise the client, via an interface on their device, of the cost of the fuel. The payment process may require input to the interface for the client device in order to initiate ; ayment for the fuel delivery event.

In an embodiment, the payment process may

automatically initiate payment without advising the client . In an embodiment, this system may facilitate a refueling of conventional, driven cars as well as

autonomous and driverless vehicles. In an embodiment, the system is arranged to

communicate with a client device which comprises an onboard processor of an autonomous or driverless vehicle, or a processor otherwise associated with the autonomous or driverless vehicle. The client device may authorize payment for the fuel.

In an embodiment, the system comprises a fuel point location process which enables a client device to locate fuel point. The client may then attend the fuel point. I an embodiment, a driverless or autonomous vehicle may detect the location of a fuel point and attend.

In accordance with an eighteenth aspect, the present invention provides a method for facilitating automated payment for fuel delivery, comprising the steps of via a fuel monitoring process, obtaining at least cost

information relating to a fuel delivery event, identifying a customer associated with the fuel delivery event, and accessing account information relating to the identified customer and initiating payment for the fuel delivery event, from the account.

In accordance with a nineteenth aspect, the present invention provides a computer program, comprising

instructions for controlling a computer to implement a system in accordance with the seventeenth aspect of the invention .

In accordance with a twentieth aspect, the present invention provides a non-volatile computer readable medium, providing a computer program in accordance with the eighteenth aspect of the invention. In accordance with a twenty first aspect, the present invention provides a data signal, comprising a computer program in accordance with the eighteenth aspect of the invention.

In accordance with the twenty second aspect, the present invention provides a system for providing services associated with vehicles, comprising a computer having a processor, memory and an operating system supporting computer processes, a data storage process for storing a customer identification, a vehicle identification, and a service process arranged to determine the status of a vehicle and provide services according to the status.

In accordance with the twenty third aspect, the present application provides a method for providing services associated with vehicles, comprising the steps of storing vehicle identification and customer

identification, communicating with remote devices in relation to the vehicle and customer, and determining the status of a vehicle and providing services according to the status of the vehicle.

Brief description of the Figures

Features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of

embodiments thereof, by way of example only, with

reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of a system for facilitating monitoring of vehicle parking, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 is a schematic block diagram of an example computing arrangement which may be utilised for

implementation of the system of Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a flow diagram illustrating a client registration process for registering the system of Figure 1;

Figure 4 is a flow diagram illustrating operation of the system of Figure 1 from the client perspective;

Figure 5 is a flow diagram illustrating operation of the system of Figure 1 from a parking attendant operator perspective;

Figures 6 to 8 are "screenshots" illustrating displays which may be generated by a client apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, operating with a system according to Figure 1;

Figures 9 to 11 are "screenshots" illustrating operation of a parking attendant apparatus operating with the system of Figure 1;

Figure 12 is a schematic diagram of a system in accordance with a further embodiment of the invention, arranged to monitor and facilitate automatic payment for fuel delivery.

Detailed Description of embodiments of the invention

Figure 1 illustrates a system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, generally designated by reference numeral 1. The system comprises a computer, in this example in the form of a server computer 2. The computer includes an operating system which supports computer processes 3 for implementing the system 1. The processes 3 include a parking process arranged to receive parking data associated with a remote client device 4. The parking data includes a location identifier relating to a location where a vehicle is to be parked, and a vehicle identifier associated with a vehicle.

The server computer 2, operating system 3 and memory are arranged to support a database 5 which stores parking data. The parking process is also arranged to store in the database 5 a parking indication that the vehicle associated with the vehicle identifier is validly parked at the location associated with the location identifier.

The database is also arranged to store parking space data. The parking space data includes a list of parking spots associated with location data identifying the location of the parking spots . Parking space data also identifies whether the parking spaces are currently vacant or not. The parking spots may be "on-street" parking spaces, which may have conventionally been monitored by meter infrastructure and parking attendants.

The system 1 also comprises communications 6 which are arranged to communicate with external devices via networks such as the Internet or any other

telecommunications network.

The system 1 is also able to communicate via

communications 6 with administrator terminals 10.

Administrator terminals 10 may comprise any appropriate computing device configured to communicate with system 1 and server computer 2. The terminals 10 may be laptops, PCs or any other appropriate device, appropriately configured with software for administration of the system 1.

The client apparatus 4 is illustrated in the diagram of Figure 1 as being a smartphone, tablet or PC. It may be any other computing device, including a laptop or any other device. There may be many client apparatus 4.

The client apparatus 4 comprises a client parking process which is arranged to transmit parking data to the system 1 for facilitating monitoring a vehicle parked or parking. In this embodiment, the client parking process comprises an "App" which is able to be obtained from the system 1 by an appropriately configured portable device, such as a smartphone .

The client, utilising his device 4, can interact with the system 1 in order to obtain and pay for parking of a vehicle. The client, utilising his device 4, also interacts with the system 1 to locate currently vacant parking spaces where he may park his vehicle.

An embodiment of client apparatus 4a may also comprise a processor associated with a driverless car or autonomous vehicle. The client apparatus 4a can

communicate with the system 1 to locate currently vacant parking spaces where the autonomous vehicle / driverless vehicle can park.

The system 1 is also arranged to interact with parking attendant devices 11. In this embodiment, the attendant device is comprised of appropriately configured computing devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops or any other computing device, which are provided with an attendant parking process arranged to interact with system 1 and receive information on validly parked vehicles parked in a particular location. The parking attendant may therefore, via his device 11, access the system 1 and determine whether a vehicle they are querying is validly parked. There may be many parking attendant devices.

The system 1 and attendant device (s) 11 may also communicate with various surveillance devices 12, 13. For example, instead of manually attending a location to determine vehicles parked, an attendant, via their device 11, may control or receive signals from a surveillance device 12 (camera) or 13 (drone with camera) to remotely view the vehicles parked in a location. They can then interact with the system 1 to verify that the vehicle (s) is validly parked. In an embodiment, the surveillance devices 11, 12, may be used to spot vehicles that are not validly parked. In this embodiment, the system 1 already knows from interaction with client devices 4, 4a what vehicles are validly parked, and can advise the attendant device (s) 11 of validly parked vehicles. Surveillance devices 12, 13, can then be used to spot vehicles that are not listed to the attendant device 11 as being validly parked .

Because the system 1 is able to monitor known parking spaces and whether or not they are vacant, there is also the possibility that the attendant could remain remote (e.g. via one of the terminals 4) and communicate with the system to interrogate it to determine what spaces have vehicles in them, and for how long those vehicles have been in the spaces and whether they are validly parked. It is possible that electronic "tickets" could be issued to deal with parking offences . Some observation of parking spaces, either manually or via surveillance devices, will still be required to avoid illegal parking by vehicles not interacting with the system 1.

In an embodiment, the attendant parking process ma be associated with a processor 11a associated with a surveillance device. A human attendant may be dispensed with in this case and the surveillance device may

automatically determine whether vehicles are validly parked or not.

Figure 2 is a schematic block diagram of an example computing arrangement which may be utilised for

implementation of the system 1.

In this embodiment, the computer 2 comprises a server computer. In other embodiments, it may comprise a personal computer, a portable computer or any other type of computing device. In embodiments, the computer may comprise a distributed architecture, or computer services may be provided in the "Cloud", or in any other manner.

The computer 2 comprises a suitable operating system and appropriate computer processes 3 for implementation of the system 1 of this embodiment of the invention.

The computer 2 comprises one or more data processing units (CPUs) 902; memory 904, which may include volatile or non-volatile memory, such as various types of RAM memories, magnetic discs, optical disks and solid state memories; a user interface 906, which may comprise a monitor, key board, mouse and/or touch-screen display; a network or other communication interface 6 for

communicating with other computers as well as other devices; and one or more communication busses 910 for interconnecting the different parts of the computer 2.

The computer 2 may also access data stored in a database 5 via communications interface 6. Database 5 may be a distributed database.

A part or all of the computer 2 may be implemented in the "Cloud". This embodiment of the present invention is

implemented by appropriate software providing instructions for operation of the computing apparatus hardware to implement the system of the embodiment and the method of the embodiment. The computer processes facilitating embodiments of the present invention may be implemented as separate modules, which may share common foundations as such as routines and sub-routines. The computer processes may be implemented in any suitable way, and are not limited to the separate modules. Any software/hardware architecture that implements the functionality may be utilised . Client parking devices 4 and attendant devices 11 may be in the form of smartphones, tablets or other portable devices such as laptops, as discussed above. They will also comprise generally the architecture described above with various differences and adaptations depending on the device. They will comprise processing units 902, memory 904 and a user interface 906. Communications 6 will also be provided for communicating with system 1. Where client devices 4a are associated with autonomous or driverless vehicles, and attendant devices 11a are associated with surveillance devices, they may comprise processors housed in the vehicle or surveillance device or associated in some other way with the vehicle or surveillance device (e.g. they could be associated with remote controllers) .

Client interaction with the system 1 via client device 4 will now be described with reference Figures 3, 4, and 6 to 9. To join the system, a client, via their smartphone 4

(or other appropriate device) , downloads from the system 1 an application in the form of software arranged to run on the device 4. The application includes computer

processes, including the client parking process and also a client registration process.

The client registration process enables the client to interact with the system 1 via their device 4, in order to upload client details which facilitate monitoring of parking of a vehicle associated with the client.

Referring to Figure 3, the registration process guides the client via their device 4 through a series of steps to enable registration of the client' s details with the system 1. Figure 6 shows a "screenshot" which shows a menu 100 including "Configuration" item. Entering the Configuration menu item, the registration process then asks a number of questions and provides fields for entry of client data. A mobile phone number may also be requested, for example. Referring to Figure 3, at step 50, the process starts. At step 51, the client is requested to enter their full name. Email ID is requested at step 52 and any other ID that might be required. The client is prompted to enter a password (at step

53) and verify the password.

At step 54, the client is requested to enter a vehicle identifier, in this example being in the form of the license plate number, for each vehicle they wish to be associated with them in the system 1. There may be more than one vehicle associated with a particular client ID.

In this embodiment, at step 55, the client's driving license number is also requested. The license plate and driver' s license number can be used via the system to verify ownership details (step 56) . For example, the system 1 may interact with an official system for

registering licenses. This can be used to confirm that the license is valid and associated with the entered vehicle ID.

At step 57, the client enters account details. This may be a credit card number, for example, or any other account which can be used to pay for parking. Any payment mechanism may be utilised. For example, PayPal™. Also an account could be prepaid by the client i.e. they would deposit a certain amount of money and this is drawn down on as the client pays for parking. The client may have the option to automatically replenish the prepaid account when it reaches a certain threshold. At step 58, the registration process ends . All the registration data is entered on the database 5. The client is now able to utilise the system 1 to validate parking for their vehicle, and pay.

Figure 4 shows a flow diagram illustrating operation of an embodiment from the point of view of a customer when the client is parking their vehicle. The client is already registered with the system 1.

At step 100, the client enters the street or area they wish to park in. At step 101, the system 1 has the option of using surveillance devices 12, 13 to recognise the number plate (License Plate Recognition (LPR)) and/or face detection at step 101) . LPR and face detection may also be initiated by the client themselves using the camera on their smartphone .

The LPR and/or face detection may be used by the system to recognise the vehicle and/or client, confirming the validity of the client.

The system is arranged to implement LPR technology, recognising license plate numbers taken via surveillance devices 12, 13 or smartphones cameras (or other devices) and comparing them with the database of registered license plates. Similarly, face detection systems are known (see Applicant's earlier Patent Applications Nos . AU2013371337, AU2012219026, AU2011207120 , AU2011252761 ) , the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

Step 101 is an optional step.

The LPR or face detection if implemented can be used to provide the system 1 with the vehicle identifier.

Alternatively, the system 1 is aware of the vehicle identifier because the client is registered and the smartphone client process indicates the client identifier and vehicle identifier to the system 1. In this

embodiment, the system recognises the smart phone number and obtains the vehicle identifier and client identifier from the smartphone number registered in the system. In a further alternative, via their smartphone, the client may enter the vehicle identifier and/or client identity. In this embodiment, streets in the area are provided with a code (e.g. a number code, or any other type of code) . The system 1 can use this code to identify the location. At step 102, therefore, in this embodiment, the client finds the street code.

At step 103, the client finds a parking spot in the street and parks their vehicle. They then open the client process on their smartphone (step 104) . If they have more than one vehicle registered with the system, they choose the vehicle ID from a list presented by the client process (step 105 ) .

In this embodiment, profile data is entered on the system during the registration process by the client (not shown in Figure 3) . The profile data may include whether the client is parking personally, or it is a work funded parking event, or some other default. The client selects the particular profile ("personal" or "work" or "other") at step 106 via the client process on the smart phone. This may also select how payment occurs. For example, the client may have more than one account registered with the system 1. A work credit card may be registered, for example, and a personal credit card. Choosing the profile for the parking event will also, in this embodiment, select how payment is to be made. Alternatively, a client may select from a menu of available accounts registered with the system.

At step 107, the client selects the street code from a drop down menu, or alternatively, enters the street code via the client process, so that the system 1 is aware of the client's location. All the data is submitted to the system 1 (step 108 - note that the data may be submitted as the client enters it rather than all at once) . In an alternative embodiment, the system 1 may be aware of the location of the client from location services provided by the client device (GPS) and can use this location to identify the client's location.

At step 108, the client process displays on the client' s device the confirmation of the location of the parking and also a parking price (not shown) . At step 110, the client confirms that the price and parking is satisfactory and leaves their vehicle.

On confirmation at step 110, the payment process of the system 1 is arranged to commence timing of the parking time (step 111 ) .

When the client returns to their vehicle, they open the client process on their device (step 112) and indicate that they have returned. This causes the payment process on the system 1 to stop parking timing and calculate a total cost. This cost is then deducted from the client's account (step 113) . If the client has more than one account registered with the system 1, this will be deducted from the account selected at step 106. An email receipt for the parking cost may be sent to the client' s device 11, at step 114. The payment process may provide account data that the client can view at any time via their device. See Figure 8 which illustrates how a summary of payments for a period may be displayed by the client process on the client' s device 11 (payment list display list rated at reference numeral 71) . A full summary of payments for any period may be provided by the payment process for display to the client. One advantage of the payment process of this

embodiment is that payment process charges only for the time that the client uses. Having a parking payment process which constantly monitors the time enables this .

In alternative embodiments, which may also depend on where and when the client parks, there may be set periods of time for payment e.g. a client may have to pay for one hour even though they only park for less than this.

Further, the amount charged may depend upon the time of day. Parking may in fact be free at certain times, for example . In an alternative embodiment, as previously discussed above, the client device 4 provides location services (e.g. GPS) . The system 1 can therefore be aware of the location of the client from their devices' location services .

In an embodiment, the system 1 may also assist with locating parking spaces for clients.

Referring to Figure 7, for example, the client may enter a location that he wishes to park in, open the Client Process and press or activate a "Park" command. The system identifies the location of a vehicle, the vehicle identity and starts the time recordal for payment When the client comes back to the vehicle and presses a "Pay" command or equivalent, the system charges them for the exact amount of time parked. As discussed above, in some cases, there may be set time periods for charging, instead of payment for the time parked.

In some embodiments, voice recognition could be used for the commands . To assist a client in locating parking spaces, because the system 1 is aware of the location and how many parking spots are vacant (because of interaction with clients who are parking) , it can advise the client via their device what parking spots are available and advise the location. The client can therefore be directed to vacant parking spots. The system 1 can also advise what parking spots might soon become vacant (because a set time period for parking is due to expire) .

For an autonomous car or driverless vehicle, the system 1 advises the vehicle processor for location of vacant parking spot. The vehicle navigates to the parking spot and parks. The vehicle processor 4a then times the parking for payment, interacting with the system 1. The charge for the time spent is automatically processed to the account of the owner of the vehicle. The system 1 of this embodiment is particularly advantageous for dealing with on-street parking. This is the parking that is normally associated with parking attendants and parking meter infrastructure. The invention is not limited to on-street parking, however, it may also be used with other types of parking, such as parking in parking stations .

In embodiments where the system is used with a car parking station, other ways of determining available spots can be used. For example the number of cars going in and out of the car parking station may be counted and with knowledge of the available spaces in the car parking station, the number of vacant spaces can be calculated.

Referring to Figure 5, operation of an embodiment of a remote attendant device 11 interfacing with the system 1 will now be described. In this embodiment, a Parking Ranger (attendant) has a device 11 which hosts an Application including an attendant parking process arranged to receive and display a parking indication indicating that a vehicle associated with a vehicle identifier is validly parked.

The App, in this embodiment, also has a weekly schedule for the Ranger to follow. The schedule may designate which area/streets the Ranger is to determine the validity of vehicle parking 4. The Ranger views his schedule (step 200) . He visits the locations/streets on his schedule (203). The attendant parking process accesses the system 1 and he is able to view how many cars are validity parked in the location (step 204) . For example, he may confirm the number of cars currently validly parked in parking locations in the street. He may view the parked vehicles and confirm that they are validity parked (step 205) .

The Ranger sees that there are extra vehicles parked in the location (step 206) . He can check via the vehicle ID (license plate registration) to find if that vehicle is validly parked. In some cases it might be correctly parked for an incorrect location, for example (step 207) . If the vehicle cannot be found in the database, the Ranger can issue an infringement notice (step 208) .

In another embodiment, the Ranger does not have to visit the location. He could sit in his Office and use surveillance devices 12, 13, to spot vehicles that are not noted on the system 1 as being validly parked. The surveillance device 12, 13 can record the license plate number of the infringing vehicle and the system 1 can issue a penalty notice. The Ranger does not need to move from his seat. In the case of clients that have registered to pay, the Ranger can confirm whether they are still allowed to park in the spot (there may be a time limit) . If a time limit is exceeded, an infringement notice can be produced The Ranger can do this without attending the location.

Figure 9 shows a screenshot for a parking ranger App showing how the parking ranger can download information on all cars parked in a location, the times during which they are permitted to park based on what they have paid. He can do this by street or by other location criteria.

Then, as he walks down the street looking at vehicles, he knows in advance whether and how long they are authorised to be there. For each street he knows in advance how many vehicles have exceeded their stay.

As discussed above, if the parking ranger sees a vehicle where the owner is not registered to pay, then he can take a picture of his license plate. He can check on that particular vehicle which is identified by the number plate and the system will send him all the relevant details e.g. how much was paid if anything and how long it can park there. See Figure 10. If the person is not registered to pay, he can be issued a ticket.

As also discussed above, in a further alternative, the parking ranger does not need to walk down the street. They can sit at a remote location and operate a small drone, or sit at one end of the street and operate the drone. The drone has a camera on it for viewing vehicles and number plates (see Figure 11) .

Because the system knows of every spot where a vehicle is registered to park, the parking ranger can see on his App which spots are empty. He can send his drone in to confirm this. From the drone's camera, he can see if the spot is empty or whether it has an illegally parked vehicle in it. He can then get the drone to take a picture of the vehicle and its plate and use that to issue a penalty notice (see Figure 11) .

In another embodiment, the parking attendant may not be necessary. Instead, a processor associated with a surveillance device such as a drone 13 or camera 12, may detect vehicles and determine whether or not they are validly parked, by interaction with the system 1. If they are not validly parked, the system 1 may automatically issue a ticket.

The system of embodiments of this invention has many advantages. The Council/parking authority does not have to maintain expensive infrastructure (parking meters) . They can reduce or eliminate the need for parking rangers to attend at locations .

Clients can be made aware of available parking spaces in locations without having to spend time driving around looking for an available space.

There are many other advantages. In the above embodiments, the system relates to parking in the street. The system may also be used to govern parking in parking lots, even parking lots in buildings . These currently have barriers and charge on entry or exit. This could be obviated with the use of the current system. All that would be needed is the vehicle identity to be recorded and surveillance devices or a parking attendant to make sure that unregistered vehicles are not parking.

A system in accordance with the present invention gives rise to the potential for a number of alternative, inventive applications. The facility of having a client's vehicle and account registered with a party, and

interacting with remote applications on client devices and surveillance tools, enables other advantageous

applications .

In one alternative embodiment, a system for

automating payment for fuelling a vehicle may be

implemented. The embodiment may be used for any type of refuelling for any type of vehicle, including

petrochemical, electric or other. Figure 12 is a diagram illustrating a system for facilitating automated payment for delivery of petrol/gasoline. No further description will be given of the components designated with the same reference numerals as those used in Figure 1. The components have substantially the same operation as described in relation to Figure 1. In this embodiment, however, the system 1 may be connected to a petrol station or petrol pump 300 which enables it to monitor an amount of gasoline which may be delivered to a client's car. The client has a client fuel process which interacts with the system. As the client' s account is registered with the system, payment for the amount of gasoline delivered via the pump 300 can be indicated on the client fuel process App and the client can choose to pay for that amount of fuel via the account registered with the system 1.

This would reduce infrastructure required of the gasoline station and also reduce congestion at the station, which often occurs at peak times.

To facilitate this system, the petrol station owners or organisations can be registered with the system 1.

Alternatively, they can administer the system 1 which is purely for monitoring and paying for gas/petrol.

In more detail, when the driver drives to the pump, the number/registration identity of his vehicle is recorded by camera 12. Based on the amount of petrol taken, the customer's account is automatically charged. The client fuel App ensures that the driver can confirm that the right amount has been charged.

If there is a vehicle that is not pre-registered and does not pay for fuel and drives away, then the system 12 knows that the vehicle number is and it can be placed on a "blacklist". When the infringer shows up at any other petrol station associated with the system, an alarm is raised and the pump at which he has stopped can

automatically be switched off via the system so that he can' t draw any fuel . Cases where a camera is not provided, the driver can enter the number of the pump or other identity of the pump into the system and the system will automatically charge for the petrol used. The application may use GPS to determine the location of the petrol station that the driver is at.

Similarly, this system may also be used with

autonomous or driverless vehicles, where the processor 4a interacts with the system 1. In this embodiment the system 1 can provide location details of refuelling stations or the vehicle processor 4a can automatically locate fuelling stations. The vehicle then navigates to the fuelling station and processor 4a interacts with the system to refuel the vehicle and pay for the refuelling. The vehicle can be identified from the processor 4a and also

separately via the surveillance system.

It will be appreciated that the system for refuelling can be used with any type of fuel, including electricity and other fuels as well as gasoline.

Although the above embodiment has been described as an addition to the meterless parking system, the fuel payment system could be implemented by a completely separate system where drivers, fuel station owners register with the system and it is unrelated to a parking system.

As well as the system for automating payment for petrol/gasoline, the ability to have a client' s vehicle and account with a party, and interacting with remote applications on client devices and surveillance tools, can be used for other advantageous applications, not limited to those described above.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the

invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.