AN iPhone application which alerts Singaporean drivers of parking attendants in the vicinity of their vehicles has been created by a local start-up.

Summon Auntie, affectionately named after the middle-aged women who patrol public car parks checking on motorists’ parking coupons, was made publicly available on August 9, coincidentally on Singapore’s National Day.

The free app works by having users tap on the “Park” function when they physically park their cars, which logs in their GPS coordinates to a secured server.

Whenever a parking attendant is spotted within a 200-metre radius of the location, a notification is sent to the user, which reads something like “Summon Auntie has been spotted 20.3m away from your car!”.

The sightings of the parking attendants are dependent on other users who tap the app’s location-based “Alert” function whenever they spot a ‘summon auntie’.

Since people started downloading and using the community-driven app a week ago, more than 5,900 “Alerts” of parking attendants have been sent in, and over 13,900 notifications sent out to warn drivers of parking attendants.

Summon Auntie, which was created by web and mobile development studio replaid, was first thought of in June and took the five-man team a week to build.

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replaid’s Sales and Marketing Manager Ron Wee told AsiaOne that Summon Auntie was not designed to help motorists to beat the system.

“Summon Auntie will never be a means to avoid a fine or a summon which is duly deserved,” the 25-year-old explained.

Rather, the app is an avenue whereby drivers can better manage the usage of their parking coupons. To illustrate the point, Mr Wee gave the example of how people sometimes unwittingly extend their stay in one place, like at a coffeeshop, and neglect their expired parking coupons.

By receiving a notification from Summon Auntie, they are reminded to return to their cars to tear more coupons.

He likens it to a modern-day replacement of the ‘kopitiam (coffee shop) auntie’ who warns her patrons when she spots a parking attendant.

The replaid team has been more than pleased with the response to their “pet project”, which is currently the most popular free lifestyle app on Singapore’s iTunes store.

Mr Wee said the app’s highly localised feel gives it a unique shine.

Besides the “Park” and “Alert” buttons in the app, there’s also “Kena” (hit), which lets users share their woes of receiving a parking ticket on Facebook.

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