Ford and Bosch enter parking technology partnership


Parking does not appear to be an activity requiring its own laboratory.

But, as the auto industry goes through big changes, the Detroit Smart Parking Lab (DSPL) is up and running and helping new and established businesses prepare for new challenges.

A collaborative partnership that includes Ford; Robert Bosch, the world’s largest auto parts supplier; Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC); the American Center for Mobility, which was created to test automated vehicles; and Bedrock, the Detroit-based real estate company that owns an interest in downtown properties and supports the parking lab.

Kate Gasparro, Director of Urban Strategy and Innovation at Bedrock, says making parking more accessible and sustainable can make downtown housing and attractions more attractive to a wider audience and is in the best interests of the company. It also makes sense to include parking in the evolving debate around mobility.

The Detroit Smart Parking Lab enables smart mobility and infrastructure pioneers and startups to test EV mobility, logistics and charging technologies related to parking, said Kathryn Snorrason, Executive Director of the Future Mobility Office and electrification within MEDC.

Snorrason’s office presents two projects using the lab to try out new concepts.

One of the projects involves Bosch and Enterprise, one of the largest car rental companies in the country. The idea behind the project is to speed up the return of rented vehicles, using lidar as a guide for an automated valet-type parking system and to control vehicle movement.

According to Kevin Mull of Bosch Connected Mobility Services, the system designed by Bosch and Enterprise can register the vehicle but eliminates the need for drivers when it comes to various stations such as a car wash.

Mull says the vehicles don’t need expensive hardware modifications, as most vehicles today are equipped with remote start, connectivity, electric power steering and gear shifting. electronic. The vehicles’ software is adjusted to fit the system, says Mull, but the system is flexible so that drivers can perform certain operations when needed and pedestrians can safely walk between vehicles.

Bosch already has a similar system, based on stereo cameras mounted on the roof of a garage rather than a lidar, which it recently put into service at Stuttgart Airport in Germany.

The other trial underway at the Detroit Smart Parking Lab involves parking electric vehicles so they can be recharged wirelessly.

Jeremy McCool, founder and CEO of HEVO, a start-up involved in the trial, says wireless charging has many inherent benefits of plug-in charging.

On the one hand, an elaborate network of cables and cords is not necessary. Wireless charging is faster than level two charging, according to McCool (photo, left), whose company is experimenting with a system capable of guiding a customer to an open charger in a parking lot so that they can use HEVO wireless charging stations.

The HEVO system also gives the customer a receipt for the energy used to charge the vehicle and for the actual cost, McCool explains. A common complaint about the public charging infrastructure currently installed in the United States is that chargers do not report how much it costs to charge the vehicle, he says.

Installing the prototype at DSPL shows how the system can operate in real time, McCool says.

Craig Stephens, one of Ford’s senior engineers responsible for automated driving systems, says partnerships are key to the development of self-driving cars and trucks, making the parking lab a tool to expand the network of companies working together on a common problem.

Snorrason says the DSPL is also expanding the network of labs across Michigan working on future product development from a variety of companies, including startups and tech companies new to the state.


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