Autonomos technology is used not only for luxury vehicles, but also for taxis and semi-trucks to provide a driving experience without having to touch the steering wheel. Automakers and technology companies are constantly innovating to improve all aspects of driving including parking.
Ford recently announced a demonstration of automatic valet parking in downtown Detroit, in collaboration with automotive supplier Bosch and Bedrock – Detroit’s largest property developer. The system introduced for future Ford models is the first infrastructure-based solution in the US for automatic valet parking where the vehicle will self-park in a parking area.
The demonstration took place at Assembly Garage Bedrock, a car park in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood adjacent to Michigan Central Station – Ford’s new mobility innovation district. The district will attract innovators and mobility impairments from around the world to develop, test and launch new solutions to address urban transport challenges, improve mobility access for all, and prepare for an increasingly connected and autonomous world for the future.
“We are constantly looking for opportunities to expand our suite of leading Ford Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technologies that help drivers feel more confident and we believe automated valet parking technology is promising,” said Ken Washington, Chief Technology Officer of Ford.
The Ford and Bosch projects align with Bedrock’s vision of developing the latest technology in parking and mobility, including the installation of the first automatic parking sensor in the Midwest today. Automatic valet parking technology will be showcased until the end of September and demonstrations are only available to tenants and VIP guests.
“We strive to be at the forefront of parking and mobility initiatives in Detroit because we recognize the importance of the link between real estate and mobility. Apart from drastically reducing parking time, we see this solution as the first step towards bringing automatic parking to our city and providing the best possible comfort for our tenants, visitors, neighborhoods and residents, ”said Heather Wilberger, Chief Information Officer of Bedrock.
Smart Infrastructure Improves Automatic Parking
The system embedded in the Ford Escape test vehicle communicates automatically via the vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) platform with Bosch intelligent parking infrastructure sensors. With infrastructure sensors, the vehicle will find an empty parking location and move the vehicle to that place. This system also includes the ability for the vehicle to react and respond to surrounding objects, pedestrians, and detect other possible hazards in the driving lane, thereby stopping the vehicle immediately.
“For Bosch, automated valet parking brings together our immersive cross-domain experience in mobility and building technology to provide smart infrastructure solutions that improve everyday life. “This technology enables consumers to see the benefits of automated high technology when the vehicle handles tasks such as parking in a garage,” said Mike Mansuetti, President of Bosch, North America.
The demonstration was shown, when the vehicle arrives at the parking space, the driver will leave the vehicle in the designated area and use a smartphone application to send the parking vehicle automatically. Through the same application, the driver will ask to return the vehicle to the designated pick-up area.
Automated parking solutions provide value for garage owners by allowing more efficient use of space within the parking garage. With automatic valet parking, the same room dimensions can accommodate up to 20 percent more vehicles. Such solutions can be implemented through solutions such as those installed in the Assembly Garage Bedrock or with embedded infrastructure planned for new garage construction allowing for optimal design for maximum capacity.
Not just parking, vehicles can also drive themselves for certain services such as charging or petrol and car washing. During the demonstration project, Ford, Bedrock and Bosch will demonstrate a vehicle lane that shows how the vehicle will move between the service area and into the parking lot before the user calls it back to leave the garage.
The demonstration project collaboration at Assembly Garage brings together one of the world’s largest automakers – Ford, Detroit City’s largest property developer – Bedrock, and the world’s largest auto supplier – Bosch, to demonstrate how organizations are working together on a new mobility initiative. Yaps, the three parties benefit from each other to gain valuable insights into user experience, vehicle design, parking structure design, and applications to expand technology.
As a supplier of automotive technology, Bosch’s actions cannot be doubted. In recent years, Bosch has built a similar system, the technology company partnered with Daimler in 2017 to build an automatic valet system at the Mercedes-Benz Museum Stuttgart, Germany. In 2019, the two companies received approval from German regulators to carry out an automatic driver’s unmanned parking function. This makes the system the world’s first automatic driverless SAE Level 4 parking function officially approved for everyday use.
Having built a system similar to that of Daimler, Bosch’s partnership with Ford demonstrates lower costs to technology. This time, Ford’s demonstration of an automatic valet parking system uses a compact SUV with an average price tag of around $ 25,000. While Daimler’s initial system relied on Mercedes-Benz vehicles for over $ 100,000. So it is possible that this technology can be found in passenger cars at an affordable price.
While Ford is not yet ready to announce when valet technology will enter production vehicles, Ken Washington insists that automatic valet parking has entered the company’s roadmap.