If you live in a metropolis, you know parking is a hellish nightmare and finding an empty parking space is the stuff that dreams are made of. Circling several blocks a few times before being graced by an empty spot quite far away from where you live is probably a daily occurrence.
Parking issues are prevalent in most big cities and so is traffic, which has seen the smart parking industry evolve by leaps and bounds. Sensors have now become a common fixture in vehicles, supplemented by evolving technologies like cameras, data analytics, and advanced algorithms developed to reduce your parking woes.
Smart Parking and Automated Technologies
A number of companies all over the world are working to develop self-driving cars and AVs (Automated Vehicles). The advent of these automated technologies promises to impact how smart parking evolves going forward.
Let’s take a look at a couple examples of companies that are taking smart parking to the next level using automated technologies:
- Mercedes-Benz and Bosch
The first innovation by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch together turns your Mercedes car into your personal parking spot locator. In 2016, they started testing community-based parking which makes finding a parking spot a quicker and easier task.
Almost all Mercedes-Benz cars are connected by a smart network. Each car is embedded with ultrasonic sensors that scan the road and roadsides for open parking spaces.
This allows all Mercedes cars on the road to locate free parking spots and report the data to the Daimler Vehicle Backend, which in turn forwards the data to the Bosch IoT cloud where these spots are verified. Once completed, this data is forwarded to all Mercedes cars nearby, notifying them of open parking spots.
This significantly reduces the time, fuel and energy required to search for parking spots in the city.
The second project undertaken by these two companies together is the Automated Valet Parking system. They tested this driverless parking solution in the multi-story car park of the Mercedez-Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany.
How does it work? You drive into the car park and then get out of the car. You open an app on your smartphone, and there you reserve a parking space in the car park. The car’s and car park’s sensors automatically pilot the car to that particular space.
When you need your car back, just use the app to call for it. The system takes care to watch out for other cars and pedestrians while safely delivering your car to a designated pickup point.
In 2015, Audi and the city of Somerville, Massachusetts signed an agreement to use the city as a testing ground for their self-driving and self-parking cars.
In 2018, Audi deployed a small fleet of cars equipped with their automated parking technology to test how they communicate and respond to a garage specifically designed for AVs.
This system would utilize self-parking technologies to improve traffic congestion. Since there are no people getting in or out of the car, the vehicles can be parked closer together, reducing the space required by 21 square feet per car. A garage like this could have 60% more capacity than a conventional parking lot.
As things progress, we may be looking at significantly shorter parking times, reduced congestion and cars that do all the work for you. And one thing is for sure – it would be a great time to be alive when wandering around, looking for a parking spot becomes a thing of the past.