Ford Joins With Bedrock, Bosch For Highly Automated Valet Parking Project

Ford Motor Co. has teamed up with Bedrock, a Detroit-based full-service real estate firm, as well as Bosch, a supplier of automotive technology and services, to launch a demonstration project for highly automated valet parking.

Under the project, connected Ford Escape test vehicles will drive and park themselves inside Bedrock’s enclosed Assembly Garage in Detroit using Bosch smart infrastructure-based sensors.

Ford said that automated parking solutions will allow more efficient use of spaces inside a parking garage, by accommodating up to 20 percent more vehicles.

Ken Washington, chief technology officer at Ford Motor, said, “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.”

According to Ford, it is the first U.S. infrastructure-based solution for automated valet parking where the vehicle will park itself inside a parking garage.

A driver, once arriving at the garage, could leave the vehicle at the designated area and use a smartphone app to send the vehicle into an automated parking maneuver. They can also use the app to request the return of the vehicle to the designated pick-up area.

In addition to simply parking, a vehicle could also drive itself to areas within the garage for specific services such as vehicle charging or a car wash.

During the project, the three companies will demonstrate vehicle paths showing how a vehicle would move between service areas and ultimately to a parking spot before the user calls it back to leave the garage.

It is expected that the new automated valet parking would benefit drivers from reducing the stress of looking for a parking space, and for garage operators and residents, it will increase parking capacity and offer services for vehicles while parked.

Ford said the research will take place in the Corktown neighborhood, the site of Ford’s new mobility innovation district, anchored by Michigan Central Station.

The project will be on display on the ground floor of Bedrock’s Assembly Garage. The automated valet parking technology will be running for Assembly tenant and private demonstrations through the end of September.

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