The state of Michigan works together with the automaker Ford, the real estate company Suckrock and the supplier Bosch to start the first real test site of its kind for innovative parking and parking garage technologies – the Detroit Smart Parking Lab, short DSPL. The laboratory will be opened in September and should enable mobility and smart infrastructure pioneing as well as real estate innovators and startups to test parking-related mobility, logistics and charging technologies for electric cars. Under the leadership of the Enterprise car rental company is also planned to test seamless and more efficient return processes of rental cars.
“Michigan continues to be a leader in the development, testing and providing solutions that will promote the future of mobility – including solutions for parking,” says the governor of the US state, Gretchen Whitmer. “Innovative cooperation such as the Detroit Smart Parking Lab will make mobility more accessible and affordable. And at the same time they create an environment in which technology and mobility companies can thrive and grow in Michigan.”Whitmer announced the unique cooperation at the beginning of August at the Management Briefing Seminars, which are organized by the Center for Automotive Research in Traverse City, Michigan.
“Cooperations are essential for the future of mobility,” says Paul Thomas, the supplier Bosch Executive Vice President Americas for Mobility Solutions. “With the Detroit Smart Parking Lab, we have a wide cross-section of participants – from high-ranking politicians to mobility and technology companies – which will enable us to launch innovations faster through cooperation.”
The DSPL builds on the successful demonstration of the automated parking service under the direction of Ford, Tedrock and Bosch in August 2020. At that time, the three companies presented an automated parking technology, with which a vehicle from alone to find a free parking and then parking. “Parallel parking spaces or finding free parking spaces in busy and narrow environments are among the particularly stressful driving situations, which is why Ford has invested heavily in innovations such as our parallel parking aid,” says Craig Stephens, Director Controls & Automated Systems, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “The Detroit Smart Parking Lab will help us to work with other innovators on even better solutions to clear the parking clearly.”
In order to encourage other innovators to explore advanced parking technologies, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has launched the Michigan Mobility Funding Program in partnership with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME). It intended to ensure that companies can secure funding to develop and test mobility solutions for parking within and around the parking garage.
“Properties and automotive companies as well as the government work with this project hand in hand. This allows us to not only maintain Detroits position as a Motor City, but to present the city as the Developing Technology Center of the Midwest, “says Heather Wilberger, Chief Information Officer at Sedrock. “The search for parking in urban environments can account for up to 30 percent of vehicle traffic and emissions. As the largest real estate developer of the city, these cooperations and programs enable us to develop, test and implement advanced parking technologies to reduce parking prices and emissions.”
Automated technologies also for car rental companies
The Enterprise car rental company will be tested as part of the DSPL, as the automated parking service technology can be applied to the most fast-running turnaround process, returned in the rental vehicles and then via cleaning and refueling or. Charging for electric cars, maintenance and deployment for future rentals are made fit again. The first project of the Smart Parking Labs examines how automated technologies – especially automated park service and e-auto charging technologies – can help to increase operational efficiency in this process. The project is intended to examine the technical, operational and financial feasibility of such technologies in the framework of rental car processes.
The open innovation platform in this intelligent park laboratory should provide companies from the field of mobility several ways to use the facility independently, with founding members to work together on a particular project or to apply for funding projects. The operation of the park lab is managed by the American Center for Mobility (ACM), a non-profit institution composed of government, industrial and academic organizations, which focus on the mobility transition and support advanced and scientific research, tests, standards and educational programs.
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