Ford Escape research vehicles begin demonstrating first U.S. infrastructure-based solution for highly automated valet parking

Detroit, Michigan, USA – Many people enjoy driving… until it’s time to park. So why not leave the task to the vehicle? Ford Motor Company, Bedrock and Bosch are launching a demonstration project with connected Ford Escape test vehicles that can drive and park themselves inside Bedrock’s Assembly Garage in Detroit using Bosch smart infrastructure.

"For Bosch, automated valet parking brings together our deep cross-domain experience in mobility and building technologies to deliver a smart infrastructure solution that improves everyday life."

Mike Mansuetti

Mike Mansuetti

president of Bosch in North America

This is the first U.S. infrastructure-based solution for automated valet parking where the vehicle will park itself inside a parking garage.

The research will take place in the Corktown neighborhood, the site of Ford’s new mobility innovation district, anchored by Michigan Central Station. The district will draw mobility innovators and disruptors from around the world to develop, test, and launch new solutions to solve urban transportation challenges, improve mobility access for everyone and prepare for the increasingly connected and autonomous world ahead.

“We are continually searching for opportunities to expand our leading suite of Ford Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technologies that help people drive more confidently and we believe automated valet parking technology holds great promise,” said Ken Washington, chief technology officer at Ford Motor Company. “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.”

The demonstration project will be on display on the ground floor of Bedrock’s Assembly Garage, the real estate developer’s first residential redevelopment project in the Corktown neighborhood. The project aligns with Bedrock’s vision of combining ground up and historical developments with the newest technology in parking and mobility - including the current installation of the Midwest’s first automated parking stall, which parks and retrieves vehicles in the basement of the Free Press Building using street-level load bays.

“We strive to be at the forefront of parking and mobility initiatives in Detroit because we recognize the importance of interconnectivity between real estate and mobility,” said Heather Wilberger, chief information officer at Bedrock. “In addition to drastically reducing park time, we see this solution as the first step to bringing automated parking to our city, providing the ultimate convenience for our tenants, visitors, neighborhoods and residents.”

The automated valet parking technology will be running for Assembly tenant and private demonstrations through the end of September.

Connected vehicle and smart infrastructure enhance automated parking

Automated valet parking – The driverless parking service

Automated valet parking – The driverless parking service

The connected Ford test vehicles operate in a highly automated fashion by vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication with Bosch’s intelligent parking infrastructure. The infrastructure sensors recognize and localize the vehicle to guide its parking maneuver, including the ability to help avoid pedestrians and other hazards. If the infrastructure senses something in the vehicle’s path, it can stop the vehicle immediately.

Upon arriving into the garage, a driver will leave the vehicle in a designated area and use a smartphone app to send the vehicle into an automated parking maneuver. Drivers will also use the app to request the return of the vehicle to the designated pick-up area, expediting the parking experience and removing the responsibility of finding the vehicle upon return to the garage.

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