Ford Testing Automated Valet Parking in Detroit
Think of how much easier a night out (remember those?) would be if you didn’t have to futz with finding parking. Ford Motor Company is working to build that future with the help of Bedrock and Bosch. This triumvirate of titans is testing an automated valet parking solution that leverages vehicle-to-infrastructure communication and connected Ford Escape crossovers.
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The project was on display throughout September at the Bedrock Assembly Garage in Detroit, which uses Bosch smart infrastructure technology. This demo marks the first infrastructure-based automated valet parking project in the United States.
How automated valet parking works
Drivers participating in the demonstration leave the Escape in a designated area and use an app to guide it into a parking spot. Sensors located within the garage detect the vehicle’s location to help navigation, and it can stop the vehicle if it detects a pedestrian or object in its path. That same app is then used to return the vehicle to the driver, making for a complete end-to-end valet experience. You don’t even have to interact with a person wearing a cool red vest.
Ford says that the automated valet parking process would allow for more efficient use of space. With the technology, garages could accommodate as much as 20 percent more vehicles. The technology can also guide vehicles to other locations located within the garage including car washes and battery charging stations. Ford notes that V2I communications tech can be retrofitted for existing structures and built into new parking facilities.
Bedrock Chief Information Officer Heather Wilberger says the demonstration paves the way for automated parking to become the norm, helping save commuters time. Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist says that the project is another example of the state’s leadership in developing smart infrastructure and roadways.
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