There’s an experiment going on inside Bedrock’s Assembly Garage in Detroit that’ll sound especially interesting for those who despise looking for parking spaces. Ford has teamed up with Bosch to demonstrate an automated valet parking technology that makes it possible for a vehicle to maneuver and park itself inside a parking structure.
The demonstration project, which will last until the end of September, uses connected Ford Escape test vehicles that can communicate with Bosch sensors installed in the Assembly Garage. This driver-assist technology/sensor combo gives the test vehicles the power to find empty parking spots, to avoid objects and persons in their path and, finally, to park themselves without human intervention.
With the technology in place, drivers can step out of their vehicles in a designated area and then simply use an app to start the automated parking process. They can also use the app to summon their vehicles back to the designated area when it’s time to leave. While the system needs infrastructure to work, that doesn’t mean it can only be used for future parking spaces: Bosch’s sensors can be retroactively installed in old buildings and structures. “Automated parking solutions bring value to garage owners by allowing for the more efficient use of spaces inside a parking garage,” Ford’s announcement reads. “With automated valet parking, the same amount of space can accommodate up to 20 percent more vehicles.”
Bosch has been working on parking solutions for years and even teamed up with Daimler for a similar experiment with Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Stuttgart back in 2017. Local Stuttgart authorities approved the automated parking system in 2019, allowing Bosch and Daimler to fully launch the technology. The Ford partnership, however, shows that the solution can work with a wide variety of vehicles, even if they’re non—luxury models.