Drones could detect illegal parking cases in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 June, 2016, 4:50pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 June, 2016, 4:50pm

Illegal parking has long been one of the leading causes of traffic jams in Hong Kong. The recent efforts of the police to crack down on illegal parking in black spots such as Central and Kowloon Tong deserve public support.

Nevertheless, it is doubtful such week-long campaigns against these drivers would make much difference in the long term as these vehicles will surely occupy the streets again when police operations end.

Indeed, one may question whether it is fair to issue unusually more parking tickets in one particular week, which makes the law enforcement rather unpredictable.

To ensure consistently effective enforcement of parking laws, the police should consider using drones to detect illegal parking cases and issue tickets automatically.

Not only can the drone-based solution spare a large number of traffic police officers from patrolling the streets during the sweltering summer of Hong Kong, but it can also ensure that most illegal parking offenders get the tickets they deserve, thereby avoiding inconsistent enforcement of the parking laws. In fact, drone technology is about to be adopted in other cities to battle this problem.

Philadelphia, for example, announced a plan in 2015 to replace one-third of its parking enforcement staff with a new drone fleet. Adopting a drone-based solution would make Hong Kong a leader in Asia in using new technology for law enforcement.

The ultimate solution for the problems of illegal parking and traffic jams is to adopt self-driving cars which can park themselves in spots miles away after dropping off the passengers.

By cracking down on illegal parking effectively with drones, more incentives will be created for the car owners in Hong Kong to embrace self-driving vehicles when the technology is ready.

Simon Wang, Kowloon Tong