Frustration over parking fines led to action
A frustration with parking fines led to the development of a parking app that can read signs and help avoid fines. Now KTH students Maximillian Claesson, Industrial Engineering and Management, and Zakarias Hedefalk, Computer Science, are aiming for European markets.
Three years ago, Maximillian Claesson and Zakarias Hedefalk obtained their driving licences, but just a few hours later, Zakarias received his first ticket.
"After that, I got fine after fine and felt that enough was enough," he says.
Zakarias, studying computer engineering at KTH, decided to do something about it. He paired up with his old friend Maximillian, also a student at KTH but in industrial economics. The result was the app "Nofine". An app developed with machine learning and an algorithm to interpret the information from the parking signs. There is much work behind the app, with several parking signs photographed in different locations and weather conditions.
"We built everything ourselves, but we received much help from KTH Innovation with market research, financial help and how to make a pitch," says Maximillian Claesson.
Launched at the beginning of the year
The app was launched in January this year and has received 35,000 downloads and 1,000 paying users. The app is based on a subscription model, currently costs SEK 19 per month, and is available in Swedish and English. And the reception has been mixed.
"Many people are pleased that we have developed this because it is a great frustration for many to receive a parking ticket, while others think it is obvious that you should be able to understand the information, but that particular part is not always so simple," says Hedefalk.
The rules on parking signs could be more precise; they both explain that there are no regulations on what applies, which often leads to misunderstandings between those in a municipality who order a parking sign and those who design it.
”You can write anything, and it is pretty confusing”, says Claesson.
Big plans ahead
The app is in its start-up phase, but big plans are ahead. Among other things, a market survey is being conducted to expand in Europe with KTH Innovation .
"We've seen that many people who know English benefit greatly from the app. If you are visiting Sweden or do not know Swedish, the parking signs are even more difficult to understand. We want to develop it in other countries where we see a need for it. We also plan to develop our API service so that other companies can use our technology," says Zakarias Hedefalk,