Vodafone Germany and Ford are piloting Parking Space Guidance, a new connected-vehicle technology that advises drivers on how many spaces are available in nearby car parks and how to get there.
In major European cities, such as London and Frankfurt, it is estimated that motorists spend as many as 67 hours a year looking for free parking.
The Parking Guidance System. Picture rights: Vodafone Germany
So called “cruising” for free parking spaces is responsible for about 30% of city traffic according to some research.
The companies are now testing technology that could make it easier to find parking spaces in city centres.
As test vehicles drive through Düsseldorf, they receive road status and car park information from Vodafone’s Cellular Vehicle to Everything (C-V2X) mobile network technology. A central computer system provides the information using the vehicle’s geolocation and information from nearby dynamic digital road signs.
Picture rights: Vodafone Germany
Parking Space Guidance technology tells drivers the number of spaces in nearby car parks and how to get to them.
The real time system will also update drivers if there is a traffic accident on the route, or if a multi-storey is suddenly busy, displaying a notice and recommendations for alternative parking spaces.
The Parking Space Guidance trialled is part of the KoMoD (Kooperative Mobilität im digitalen Testfeld Düsseldorf) programme in Germany, a €15 million cross-industry project testing new connected‑vehicle and automated driving technologies.
“When vehicles can exchange data with infrastructure in real-time, traffic will become more intelligent, searching for a parking space will become less stressful and people will get to their destination more quickly,” said Michael Reinartz, Director of Innovation and Consumer services at Vodafone Germany.
“Satnavs are great at helping us to get to our destination but aren’t so useful when it comes to helping us to park there – especially in city centres,” said Tobias Wallerius, engineer, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “Parking Space Guidance is a connected‑vehicle technology that could help drivers to more quickly complete their journey, saving them money, time and benefitting overall air quality.”
Vodafone and Ford will also be testing several other features as part of KoMoD including:
The Ford display will show Bad Weather Warnings transmitted between cars using C-V2X. Picture rights: Vodafone Germany
For now, information broadcast between vehicles is intended to enable drivers to make informed decisions about their journeys. However, vehicle‑to‑vehicle and vehicle‑to‑infrastructure communications – such as those in the KoMoD trial – may play an important role in a future in which autonomous vehicles could respond automatically to them.
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 Cookson, G and Pishue, B, 2017, The Impact of Parking Pain in the US, UK and Germany. Inrix. (online) Available at: http://inrix.com/blog/2017/07/parkingsurvey/.
 Shoup, D, 2006, Cruising for parking. (online) Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Donald_Shoup/publication/222745846_Cruising_for_parking/links/5affa6d00f7e9be94bd7df48/Cruising-for-parking.pdf?origin=publication_detail
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