An award-winning Solihull company has devised an innovative way to make sure motorists don't park in disabled spaces.
Spacehog, of Ullenhall Lane, developed a new version of its successful Spacehog bollard containing sensors with radio transmitters which communicate information to electronics in nearby audio signs.
Drivers who attempt to use a disabled space will be met with a spoken announcement, broadcast from the audio sign, politely asking the driver whether they are permitted to park there.
The equipment also logs vehicle arrival and departure information for each bay so that management reports can be produced on parking space usage. Asda has now installed 4,000 Spacehogs at more than 150 stores and the company's products are used in hotels, hospitals, universities and leisure centres throughout the UK, Ireland, South Africa and Europe.
Derek Jones, of Spacehog, said: "Spacehogs provide a cost effective alternative to paying for monitoring, either through human observation or wheel clamping, which must be observed by law.
"The materials used to construct the sensors are brightly coloured, highly visible and are very durable and resistant to damage."
The firm received assistance in the creation of the new bollard from the design4 advantage project team based at Coventry University. The project provides fully- funded access to leading design resources and experts at the university.
The team provided essential assistance in the creation of the new low cost disabled parking bollard conversion kits.
The work completed by design4 advantage and Spacehog has been awarded design protection throughout Europe under the European Design Registry based in Valencia.
The design4 advantage project is funded by Advantage West Midlands and supported by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber's Business Link service.
Kathryn Stewart, design4 advantage project manager, said: "It was great to work with Spacehog because of the originality of their work.
"Not only are the products important to disabled users they meet the needs of employers."