Ford and Jaguar Land Rover unite to develop collaborative parking technology

By Tristan Shale-Hester

Ford and Jaguar Land Rover are developing technology together to try to cut the time motorists spend looking for spaces in car parks.

A survey of 2,039 people commissioned by Ford found that, on average, drivers in the UK waste more than a day every year looking for parking spaces.

The new technology, which is being developed as part of the consortium-led UK Autodrive project, creates a “crowd-sourced” map of empty spaces in car parks.

When a vehicle enters a car park and starts driving around, the system will use its parking sensors to scan for empty spaces and plot a live map of the available slots.

Other vehicles then entering the car park are shown the map, so that instead of driving around aimlessly looking for a spot, motorists can go straight to where the empty spaces are most likely to be.

The system is being tested in Milton Keynes and is among a host of technologies that UK Autodrive’s 15 consortium members, which include Ford, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Tata Motors, are developing.

(Ford)

The marques are also working on a system that detects emergency services vehicles approaching from behind and informs the driver of their location and distance so they can move out of the way.

Christian Ress, supervisor of automated driving at Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, said: “We understand how much wasted time and unnecessary stress is caused by searching for parking spaces in towns and cities.

“With our research into collaborative parking, we see an opportunity to hand that time back to drivers, helping them enjoy happier, healthier and more efficient journeys.”

(JLR)

Joerg Schlinkheider, chief engineer of automated driving at JLR, added: “We’re investing heavily in automated technologies to make our customers’ lives safer and more convenient.

“Reducing the everyday stresses of driving – such as squeezing into a tight parking space – means that we can all focus on the more enjoyable aspects of our cars.”

UK Autodrive, which is jointly funded by the government and industry to the tune of £20m, is one of three consortia testing automated vehicle technology as part of a government-backed competition to support the introduction of self-driving vehicles. The project ends in October this year.

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