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Ford and Bosch helping to explore automated vehicle parking technology

Ford, Bosch and Bedrock are launching a demonstration project with connected Ford Escape test vehicles that can drive and park themselves.

The test is taking place inside Bedrock’s assembly garage in Detroit, using Bosch smart infrastructure.

It’s claimed to be the first US infrastructure-based solution for automated valet parking where the vehicle will park itself inside a parking garage.

“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 run through to the end of September.

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 recognise and localise the vehicle to guide its parking manoeuvre, 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 manoeuvre.

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.

A joint press release from the three companies said this demonstration project will enable them to gain valuable insights regarding user experience, vehicle design, parking structure design and application to expand the technology and its application.