Driverless cars are all the rage these days. But what happens when vehicles become capable of automated valet parking?
This is what Ford is currently looking into.
The American automaker revealed it is working with supplier company Bosch and real estate firm Bedrock on exploring automated valet parking. The technology is being tested in a garage in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, close to Ford’s mobility innovation district.
Driving on roads is an enjoyable activity for a lot of people. But parking is one of the biggest challenges for motorists, especially in areas with high density. The new technology Ford is working on aims to make parking hassle-free by making the car or truck do all the work, from looking for open space to the actual parking.
It works with the help of a smartphone app that will send signals to a vehicle that is stopped at a designated drop-off zone. It will handle the steering, stopping, changing gears, and shutting off of the engine without the driver’s interference.
In case people are worried about the safety of this technology, Ford said the vehicle can stop the parking process if a pedestrian or obstacle gets in the way in order to prevent a collision.
The same smartphone app can also be used to retrieve the vehicle by returning it to the designated area.
At the moment, Ford is conducting demonstrations of the technology on Escape SUVs. The vehicles are also equipped with modems that allow communication with a Bosch hardware in the garage, which Ford’s Chief Technology Officer Ken Washington referred to as ‘the key piece of technology’ for the new feature.
The demonstrations by Ford, Bosch, and Bedrock for the automated valet parking technology will continue until September.