Finding Your Car at Heathrow

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When the new $8 billion Terminal 5 opens in March of next year at London's Heathrow airport, you won't have to worry about remembering where you park your car. According to a story in USA Today, infrared cameras and sensors will be capturing a car's license plate as it enters the terminal's parking garage, and as the car makes its way inside the garage, additional cameras will be monitoring it. Cameras will also take a picture of where each car eventually ends up parking.

When passengers return from a flight, they can go to a kiosk and either enter their parking ticket or license plate number. The location of their car will then be displayed on a diagram of the parking terminal.

The parking garage will also have information telling passengers where there is open parking. You can read a story about smart parking technology in a story I wrote for IEEE Spectrum on-line here.

In a related parking story, also from USA Today, it seems that because parking is at such a premium in many areas of Britain, that fast-food restaurants like McDonald's are warning customers to eat up in 45 minutes or risk a parking fine of $150, while supermarkets and department stores, including British retail giant Tesco, are warning shoppers they too will be fined if they park for more than two or three hours. Just like at Heathrow, cameras are being used to identify the cars overstaying the parking time limits.

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