Ford Motor Co. is Working on Automated Valet Parking for its Future Vehicles
Autonomous technology isn't just being used for taxis, semi-trucks, and luxury vehicles to give people rides without ever having to touch the steering wheel, automakers and tech companies are always looking for ways to improve all aspects of driving, which includes parking.
Ford recently announced that it's working with automotive supplier Bosch and Bedrock, the largest property developer in Detroit, to introduce automated valet parking on future Ford models.
Ford Wants Cars To Park Themselves
Currently, the three companies are working together to launch a demonstration with a Ford Escape to showcase how the technology will be able to allow vehicles to drive and park themselves inside one of Bedrock's Assembly Garages in the Corktown neighborhood.
Ford claims that the demonstration is the first U.S. infrastructure-based solution for automated valet parking where the vehicle can park itself inside of a parking garage.
While autonomous vehicles solve the problem of having to deal with bumper-to-bumper traffic and long slogs on the highway, another issue for urban drivers is having to find a parking spot. As someone that lives in a city, I can't even count the number of times I've had to circle blocks to find a place to park. This is exactly where the new technology utilizes everything that's good about autonomous tech to give urbanites something to get excited about.
Automated valet parking can handle all of the aspects of parking, including finding a spot, driving to the spot, and autonomously parking in the spot. It works thanks to vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication with Bosch's intelligent parking infrastructure. The infrastructure's sensors "recognize and localize the vehicle" to act as a guide to the parking spot and lending a helping hand to avoid hazards.
All a driver has to do, is exit the vehicle in a designated area and use a smartphone app to order the vehicle to complete an automated parking maneuver. Drivers can also call the vehicle back to the designated pick-up area via the app.
Helpful And Efficient
In addition to being incredibly helpful, Ford believes the system will help make parking garages more efficient. With automated valet parking, Ford believes the same garage can accommodate up to 20 percent more vehicles. Beyond finding an open parking spot, the system can also help vehicles access specific parts of a garage, like a car washing station or a vehicle starting station.
"For Bosch, automated valet parking brings together our deep cross-domain experience in mobility and building technologies to deliver a smart infrastructure solution that improves everyday live, ‘said Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America. "This technology enables consumers to see the benefit of highly automated technology as the vehicle handles a task such as parking in a garage."
The technology would certainly be helpful for consumers that live in busy cities, but it's unlikely that it will be introduced in the near future. While Bosch worked with Mercedes-Benz for a similar system in Germany, new technology takes a long time to make it to market. Especially autonomous technology in the U.S. Still, it's a nice look into what's possible for future vehicles.
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