Arduino parking lot attendant

Here’s an automatic parking gate for toy cars. There’s no need to press a button, the electronics detect the presence of a vehicle on either side of the gate, raising it after verifying that the lot is not already full. It’s the same idea as counting how many people enter a room in order to switch the lights but the hardware is just a bit different.

The system is controlled by a pair of sensors in the paper which serves as the parking lot. There are three sheets of heavy stock, the top and bottom both have aluminum foil on them, with the center layer  as a separator. There are holes cut in the separator where the hash marks are seen above. By adding a little pressure to the car when you drive it up to the gate this completes a circuit instructing the Arduino that there’s a vehicle in position.

You can see a demonstration, as well as the guts of the build, in two videos after the break.

[via Reddit via Freetronics]


  1. b says:

    I suppose it makes me an asshole, but whats next, someone blinking an LED with an Arduino?

  2. Bubba Gump says:

    I think this is a great thing to show kids (I didn’t say just boys) when they have their Matchbox garage.

    Now add a license plate reader or RFID to each car…lol.

    • Tony says:

      Given the price of RFID stuff these days, that’s actually feasible.

      The model train nerds do that to ID rolling stock on their setups.

      If you grab just the last byte from the code you can get enough codes to avoid clashes and make coding easier.

      (Why is another story, and the answer of course is ‘why not?’)

  3. obsoehollerith says:

    Too bad you left out the bit that slashes your tires when you try and sneak in through the out gate! (You could’ve put in a little shocker if you really didn’t want a row of pins to slash your fingers)… Just saying…

  4. maxbane says:

    i want to see one that prints out tiny parking billets.

  5. truthspew says:

    I think it’s pretty cool though I would have worked it differently. You could use a magnetic sensor as the cars are all metal and you could detect the eddy currents.

    Or you could use an infrared laser and sensor.

  6. Mike bradley says:

    What happens when lot is full, and there are 5 cars behind you? This sounds like a design of a system, not a hack, just

  7. To make this realistic, you need to make one of the parking spaces so small that no car can fit in it. That way the last person has to drive around looking for a space when the garage says it’s not full.

  8. cde says:

    This is actually very neat. I’d be entertained by this for like 3 weeks if I was a kid again. But just 3 weeks, it’s not THAT cool :P

  9. I like how some of the cars had to make 3 point turns instead of just pulling impossible low speed drifts.

    a small bit of refining and finishing, and I could see this as a marketable toy. maybe even a fancy lego set as an intro to the mindstorms series.

    –or scale it up and manage your own parking lot somewhere.

  10. jsr says:

    i would like to see functional ground loops and safety logic which conforms to ASTM F2200-11b

  11. Galane says:

    Next step, simulate Steve Guttenberg’s parking lot scene from the first Police Academy movie. ;)

  12. Mark A says:

    There was room for a 9th car at the extreme right of the carpark.

  13. Judge says:

    Im doing something like this with a keil board for a project, does the software code differ much as I have to write the code in Keil

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