Ford launches automated parking pilot scheme in Detroit

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Ford Motor Company, commercial real-estate developer Bedrock and Bosch have announced the launch of a demonstration project to trial automated parking in Detroit. According to the companies, this is the first US infrastructure-based solution for automated valet parking where a vehicle will park itself inside a parking garage.

The connected Ford test vehicles will operate autonomously via vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication with Bosch’s intelligent parking infrastructure. The infrastructure sensors recognize and localize the vehicle to guide its parking maneuver, including the ability to help avoid pedestrians and other hazards. If the infrastructure senses something in the vehicle’s path, it can stop the vehicle immediately.

Upon arriving at the demonstration garage, a driver will leave the vehicle in a designated area and use a smartphone app to send it into an automated parking maneuver. Drivers will also use the app to request the return of the vehicle to the designated pickup area, expediting the parking experience and removing the responsibility of finding the vehicle upon return to the garage.

“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 onboard computing to help improve design, packaging and affordability.”

The demonstration project will take place on the ground floor of Bedrock’s Assembly Garage facility in Detroit, the developer’s first residential redevelopment project in the city’s Corktown neighborhood. Explaining the company’s involvement in the project, Heather Wilberger, chief information officer at Bedrock, said, “We strive to be at the forefront of parking and mobility initiatives in Detroit because we recognize the importance of interconnectivity between real estate and mobility. In addition to drastically reducing park time, we see this solution as the first step to bringing automated parking to our city, providing the ultimate convenience for our tenants, visitors, neighborhoods and residents.”

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