Ford, Bedrock and Bosch are set to address one of the more irritating elements of a night out—valet parking.
The three companies are using Ford Escape test vehicles in combination with Bedrock’s Assembly Garage and Bosch smart infrastructure. The goal is to create an automated valet system that will make it possible for drivers to simply walk away while an artificial intelligence (AI) handles parking the car.
Once perfected, a driver will be able to use a smartphone app to send the vehicle to park itself, or go to other vehicle services, such as a charging station or car wash. In addition to labor cost savings, it’s estimated an automated system will allow garage operators to accommodate as much as 20 percent more vehicles. The system is designed to be retrofitted to existing garage structures, or integrated into new construction.
“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.”
“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,” said Heather Wilberger, chief information officer at Bedrock. “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.”
“For Bosch, automated valet parking brings together our deep cross-domain experience in mobility and building technologies to deliver a smart infrastructure solution that improves everyday life,” said Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America. “This technology enables consumers to see the benefit of highly automated technology as the vehicle handles a task such as parking in a garage.”
This is another example of the many ways AI promises to make everyday tasks easier.