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Bosch accelerates its growth in the ‘smart’ parking market

One of the world’s leading suppliers of automotive components and systems is looking to tap into a whole new marketplace by offering parking technologies and services, with the eventual goal of totally automated parking systems.

Bosch is simplifying the search for parking spaces and is gradually automating the parking process, and the company has already made major achievements in this area, especially with its systems for self-parking and driving. As part of the move toward fully automated parking, over the next few years, Bosch plans to launch a host of parking assistance systems, with potential customers for its parking systems including vehicle manufacturers and parking garage operators, as well as cities and communities around the globe. These systems help drivers to park accident-free, or even completely guide them into a space at the touch of a button. In Europe, parking assistance systems are the most common aid in current cars according to a Bosch evaluation of 2014 vehicle registration statistics, with about 50% coming equipped with the technology. These systems are mainly based on ultrasonic sensors, which Bosch has been making since 1993.

In Germany, it takes an average of 10 minutes to find a parking space, with drivers clocking up as many as 2.7 miles (4.5km) in unnecessary driving. Bosch shortens this search in two ways: special vehicle occupancy sensors in parking lots or garages detect and report empty spaces; and Bosch uses the sensors that are becoming standard in an increasing number of vehicles and employs them in the search for curbside parking. The information is processed in the Bosch Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud to generate digital maps of parking spaces. Drivers can access the maps, online or via their vehicle’s navigation system, and let themselves be guided directly to areas with free parking spaces.

Bosch predicts that before the end of this decade, cars will drive themselves to a space in a parking garage, thanks to their technology. Drivers will simply leave their car in a handover zone outside a parking garage and instruct it by smartphone, for example, to search for a parking space. When ready to leave, they call the car back to the drop-off point in the same way. The innovation uses the company’s smart technology, present both in the vehicle and parking garage, as well as the inter-communication between the two.

“The mobility of the future starts today, with smart parking,” said Dr Dirk Hoheisel, member of Bosch’s board. “In 2016, our sales in driver assistance will exceed €1bn (US$1.13bn). Worldwide, almost 2,500 Bosch engineers, some 500 more than last year, are working to further develop driver assistance systems and automated driving. In offering intelligent services, we also take on the often arduous task of looking for available parking, thereby saving time and reducing stress. Having cars drive directly to available parking spaces will also mean a reduction in pollution. Parking as we know it today won’t exist in the future. Going to a concert no longer means starting and ending your evening in a drafty parking garage. Fully automated parking will be ready for production before fully automated driving.”

April 14, 2016

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