One of the world’s leading auto makers and one of its key suppliers are trialing ‘connected car’ technologies that will allow vehicles that are driving past available parking spaces to inform other drivers of how big these available spots are, and where to find them.
Bosch and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz division are aiming to simplify the search for available parking spaces. The two companies are testing a new community-based parking system that makes finding an empty parking space faster and easier. They have launched a pilot project in the greater Stuttgart area involving various Mercedes test vehicles. Sensors on board the test vehicles enable them to generate data on available curbside spaces, and are also equipped with a communication interface with which to report and receive such data.
The ultrasonic sensors that are already integrated into the vehicles for parking and reversing warning systems can continuously scan the roadside at speeds of up to 34mph (55km/h). When they locate available parking spots, the collected data is sent from the Daimler vehicle backend via a secure datalink to the Bosch IoT (Internet of Things) cloud for analysis. Data mining methods are applied to verify that the identified spaces are indeed available parking spots. If, for instance, vehicles keep reporting an available space at a particular spot on a busy road, it is highly likely that this is a driveway and therefore cannot be used for parking.
In the first phase of the new service being trialed by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch, the system calculates the probability of finding an available space on a given street. In the next phase, once community-based parking has become more widely established, it should even be possible to report the availability and dimensions of curbside spaces in real time. Combined with further information about available spaces, for example those in public parking garages, this data from community-based parking can subsequently be shown as a digital parking-space map on the in-car display or via the ‘Mercedes me’ smartphone app. Then all the driver has to do is select this destination in the navigational system, and be guided straight to the available parking space. In combination with park-assist systems, such as Remote Park Pilot, which is now available in the new Mercedes E class, community-based parking has the potential to save drivers time and fuel, with resulting environmental benefits.
“With community-based parking, finding a space becomes a kind of shared endeavor. This lets us shorten the search for parking considerably, and guide drivers straight to an available space,” explained Dr Rolf Nicodemus, head of the connected parking project at Bosch.
Sajjad Khan, head of digital vehicle and mobility at Mercedes-Benz, added, “Nearly all of our Mercedes cars are connected by a smart network. When they are also equipped with the right sensors, they generate data ‘in passing’, so to speak. We see using that data for the rapid identification of available parking spaces as the next logical step.”