Ford Exploring Automated Parking Technology

Ford Motor Company, Bosch, and Bedrock (a Detroit-based Real Estate firm) are launching a project, using connected Ford Escape test vehicles, to demonstrate technology that allows vehicles to drive and park themselves.

The research will take place at the site of Ford’s new mobility innovation district in Detroit, on the ground floor of Bedrock’s Assembly Garage – the developer’s first residential redevelopment project in the area. The project is the first U.S. infrastructure-based solution for automated valet parking where the vehicle will park itself inside a parking garage.

The test vehicles operate in a highly automated fashion by vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication with Bosch’s intelligent parking infrastructure technology. The infrastructure sensors recognise the vehicle and guide its parking maneuver. If the infrastructure senses something in the vehicle’s path, such as a pedestrian, it can stop the vehicle immediately.

Upon arriving at the garage, a driver can leave the vehicle in a designated area and use a smartphone app to send the vehicle into its automated parking maneuver. Drivers can also use the app to request the return of the vehicle to the designated pick-up area, removing the need of finding the vehicle upon return to the garage.

The company’s say that automated parking solutions bring value to garage owners by allowing for the more efficient use of spaces inside a parking garage. With automated valet parking, the same amount of space can accommodate up to 20 per cent more vehicles. The solution can be deployed and retrofitted into existing garages, or with embedded infrastructure planned into construction of new ones that are designed for maximum capacity.

In addition to simply parking, a vehicle could also drive itself to areas within the garage for specific services such as vehicle charging or a car wash.

“We are continually searching for opportunities to expand our leading suite of Ford Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technologies that help people drive more confidently and we believe automated valet parking technology holds great promise,” said Ken Washington, chief technology officer at Ford Motor Company. “Our work with Bosch and Bedrock also aligns with our vision for the future, which includes increasingly automated vehicles that are more aware of their surroundings while requiring less on-board computing to help improve design, packaging and affordability.”

Source: Motor Trader E-magazine (September 2020)

16 September 2020

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