An app released this week by a veteran engineer promises to help people avoid the pain of a parking ticket or, worse, a stolen car.

Dubbed AutoDefender, for now it’s only available on Android and its main features only work in Seattle. The user interface isn’t the most sophisticated you’ll ever see. But it’s a fascinating little app, in part because of what the developer says is happening behind the scenes to provide the information.

The app’s description sums it up: “All you have to do is tell AutoDefender how long you are planning on parking in your spot and our neural networks go to work using your position, historical parking ticket data, current weather patterns, social media, and much more to immediately return you some quickly actionable information, i.e., should you park where you are, should you feed the meter, should you rush back to your car if the date is going well.”

In addition to color-coded bars indicating the threat of theft or ticket, the app includes a timer (set manually) to remind the user when a meter will run out.

The company behind the app is called Mossy Side, led by Erik Chelstad, a veteran of companies including Isilon Systems, Honeywell and Data I/O.

Chelstad promises in a news release that the app will be expanding to other cities and the iPhone in the future. He says he’s the part-owner of multiple coffee shops, and was inspired to create the app after watching customers rush out to their cars to avoid tickets.

The app sells for $1.99, but a fully functional free version is good for 30 days. More details in this FAQ.

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  • Mercyfaith1

    I love this app! I have used this app for about a month now. I was hesitant to use it because every time I tried the app I was near the University of WA campus and during rush hour, especially when everyone knows who parks around the U district that you can’t feed the meter and not expect a nice $30 something parking ticket left on your window.
    I fed the meter to park my car for ten minutes, opened the Autodefender app and saw that it had many red bars in the Seattle parking row, indicating that parking in the area was a high threat level. Like I stated earlier I paid for ten minutes but wanted an extra 5 min. I didn’t have enough change, so I added 5 extra min on the app, and set the timer for 15 min.
    What was so great is that I went back to my parking space after 15 min, I was free of a ticket, had a timer to remind me, saw the parking ticket officer a few cars down from me, but loved the fact that I got 5 min of extra time with out the cost of paying a few cents more that I never really had to spare. Thanks Autodefender!

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