An AutoVu system installed on a parking enforcement vehicle.

AutoVu is the brand-name of the detection system used in one of the strange looking golfcart-like vehicles that patrol Davis streets looking for parking violators. It is equipped with dual infrared cameras that can read license plates, even at an angle, as the vehicle travels at around 15 mph. The license plate is then compared to an onboard database of plates to determine if it is in violation. This means no more tire chalking is needed.

The violations it can find include unauthorized residential parking and people who have parked too long in 1hr/90min/2hr spaces. It is also equipped with GPS to determine if a particular vehicle in that timed spot has only moved a few spaces away (which still constitutes being in that timed zone). This is much faster than the chalk-the-tires method, allowing parking officers to check 1000 cars in the time that it took to check 300 the old fashioned way. The absence of chalk also means you won't know whether parking enforcement has marked your vehicle or not.

Sacramento has seven AutoVu vehicles, which it uses for more than a dozen busy areas. Davis has only one, which has been seen downtown and trolling residential streets like Sycamore Lane and Acacia Lane.

The following parking enforcement officers have been seen driving the AutoFind vehicle around town:

  • #151 Reposa (the bearded one)
  • #154 Kolb (the lady)
  • #155 Price ("gramps")


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it's only a matter of time before some vietnamese guy named auto vu tries to join this site. - arlen

I used to think that they were chalking the tires with something that only a blacklight would show and that's why their little weird golf-cart had those odd lights, but it appears that it's just taking pictures of license plates and OCRing them— or so the info above suggests. Metering parking is one way to protect a scarse parking-space comodity, but it's also a way of making some money. Just think of what they might turn to next?-jr

"with chalk you can at least check whether you need to move your car or not. with AV, there's no way you can know— through intimidation, you're forced to move your car within the zone's alloted time. hmmm... we could certainly use the wiki to track the movement of the AV, but doing so would probably just expedite the onset of metered parking." cb

What do the cars carrying these look like? Are they the same as the vehicle on the Parking page? Do all cars looking like that have it installed? I know I've seen those cars do chalking. There are also quiet a few of those cars around, so that would mean (if they all had it installed) that practically all parking enforcement in the downtown area is now chalk-free. Also, IR filters are pretty easy to come by, and you can make them look as transparent as glass. You could easily fit some IR-blocking glass or plastic over your license plate for cheap.PhilipNeustrom

  • Those things to block red light cameras and stuff don't work. I think they work with a normal image, but if it can't read a normal image it inverts it which makes it show up or something. —BradBenedict

2005-08-12 11:00:11   The cars look like normal carts, but with large, white camera like things pointing off the corners of the roof at 45 degree angles. —ArlenAbraham

2005-08-26 11:55:58   since Sacramento only has three of these vehicles, I doubt Davis has more than two —ApolloStumpy

2006-08-01 00:46:51   How much did these things costs? Are the costs really worth it? I mean, I guess in the eyes of Davis PD, they can make more money with more tickets (especially with the blockface parking...) OY. —ChristyMarsden

  • $80,000 according to Parking Violaters article. —BradBenedict

2006-08-04 22:32:31   wow, talk about adding injury to insult... —JoeRunnels

2007-05-16 18:25:39   I just read an article on vanguard about how AV is too efficent, and people just move cause the *know* they will get a ticket. —StevenDaubert

2008-05-12 15:19:55   They still mark tires with chalk, even with the new system. Don't be fooled! I believe they do it to entice people (like me) into moving so the chalk doesn't show. I have a broken foot, so it's a pain to change into a driving shoe just to re-park. A luncheon was running late at Soga's, so I rolled my car back so the chalk wouldn't show, but got nailed by the automated system. Stupid me. $35 for an extra 20 minutes. If the chalk hadn't been there, I would have reparked on another block. Sometimes I hate Davis. —Linda