They detect up to two thousand offenses a day, award 60 million pictures and Prague pays about 40 million crowns a year for them. How do the cars of Eltodo, which controls parking in Prague, work?
ELTODO CONTROLS all streets with paid parking, where there are blue zones and parking machines, plus several selected sections in the outskirts of Prague. Operation of car parking zones – in the city districts they run only from Monday to Friday from 8 pm, for example in Prague 1, but especially from Monday to Sunday.
EVERY BLUE ZONE STREET the car must pass twice in a row with an interval of at least three minutes – in the blue zones, anyone can stand for up to three minutes, so until the monitoring car takes a picture of you in the same place during the second passage, nothing happens. Otherwise, the situation is solved when the cameras take pictures of you when you go from the car to pay to the parking meter. When comparing the time of shooting and payment in the machine, there is a certain time tolerance for making payments. Nevertheless, Eltoda cars in Prague detect an average of two thousand suspected violations every day.
CARS WITH CAMERAS ON THE ROOF they are not only tasked with catching disobedient drivers, but are also used for statistical purposes once a month. The driver then drives through the area seven times a day, and the cameras always evaluate how many cars are parked in the street and when. Relatively accurate city statistics help to better plan the development of parking areas.
IN A CAR CASE There are two computers that take care of data and communication with the outside world. Due to them, a large air conditioning pipe is also inserted into the trunk. The entire Eltodo system was developed together with the Prague company Cortec. The principle is simple – the exact location of the blue, purple and orange zones is entered on the maps, so the car knows where to look for the registration plate (cars standing outside the zones do not solve the camera parking ban). All signs are regularly sent to the Central Information System, which turns out to have several given car parking permits.
LTE ANTENNA for data transfer. Photographs of cars with registration plates, which have paid for parking according to the Central Information System, are immediately deleted, the others are stored in the memory, from where they are downloaded, deleted and sent to the same database every evening. The data package contains information about the time, position and make of the car plus five photos of photo documentation and the driver himself does not have access to them at all. In the database, they are taken over by the police, who still have to manually discard, for example, ambulances and other cars that do not fall into the paid parking regime.
THERE ARE FOUR MAIN CAMERAS ON THE ROOF with infrared illumination, which recognizes car license plates, and two surveillance cameras, which confirm the documentation of traffic signs and a parked car. Camea-supplied cameras take 360,000 images per hour and, thanks to four additional lights, work reliably even at night. In addition to Czech brands, they also know most foreign ones and their success rate is 95 percent. The trick of pasting a part of the brand will not save you – it will be evaluated as a car with unpaid parking and sent on to the system. You can’t even rely on parking just in front of or behind another car. As long as you can leave, believe me, your brand is visible.
IN THE INTERIOR OF THE CAR in addition, it is only a navigation tablet in which the driver has a destination for the route he has to travel. There are a total of 32 of them, each measuring 20 to 40 kilometers, one takes about one and a half hours for the driver, so he manages an average of six routes a day and drives about 200 kilometers. The routes are designed so that the car travels every street in Prague at least 15 times a month, the times of the passes change, of course, so that it is not possible to trace when it will pass you.
THE SMALLER, THE BETTER. For better maneuverability in narrow streets, Eltodo uses a small Toyota Yaris. He first appeared in Prague in April 2016, today there are seven of them and all of them are in a hybrid version – apart from ecology, this is mainly due to the fact that the electric motor can also power computers that are stored in a suitcase. Don’t confuse them (like Leoš Mareš) with cars that collect Street View imagery for Google.