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BMW-Parkmobile Collaboration Makes Parking Predictable in Cities

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【Summary】To achieve this level of predictability, the platform uses updated maps of over 250 cities and 22 airports across the country. The main goal of the collaboration is to reduce the average time spent looking for vacant parking spaces, from 20-30 minutes to around 5-10 minutes.

Michael Cheng    Jul 25, 2017 2:21 PM PT
BMW-Parkmobile Collaboration Makes Parking Predictable in Cities

In the future, autonomous driving technology will make parking obsolete. City officials are expecting demand for parking spaces to decrease, as self-driving vehicles are predicted to participate in ride-sharing or car-sharing programs when they aren't being used by their owners.

While waiting for such technologies to become available, automakers are coming up with new solutions to modernize the traditional parking experience. Some businesses are partnering with cities to integrate networks with smart meters. While other groups, including BMW and Parkmobile, are focused on making parking easier with seamless services. For the duo, the main goal of the collaboration is to reduce the average time spent looking for vacant parking spaces, from 20-30 minutes to around 5-10 minutes.

Read on to learn about the group's plans to disrupt parking in urban locations.

Seamless, Smart Parking

Earlier this year, Parkmobile announced a strategic partnership with BMW during the 2017 International Parking Institute Annual Conference. Within three years, the business believes people will know exactly where they will park at their destination, before departing from the original location.

To achieve this level of predictability, the platform uses updated maps of over 250 cities and 22 airports across the country. Customers will be able to view vacancies and price points of parking slots in real-time on the infotainment system. Knowing what's available is only half the battle in securing parking reservations around busy locations. To complete the parking reservation process, Parkmobile also allows customers to pay for usage directly from the vehicle.

"As people start to realize there are solutions to solve these problems, I believe it will become engrained in their habits, but we need to educate people on the availability of those solutions," said John Ziglar, CEO of Parkmobile, during an interview with Business Insider. "And those kinds of changes can happen very quickly."

Disrupting Payments with Cars

With the Parkmobile app connected to the car's display screen and a preferred payment method, drivers could indicate how long they intend to use the parking space. To complete the reservation, customers will be able to execute transactions from the infotainment system. Additionally, people may also extend their parking reservation via the BMW Park Now app. Parking lots fully integrated with the service have the ability to automatically end sessions when the driver leaves the space.

"By embedding real-time parking payment and advanced reservations capabilities into the automobile itself, we complete the circle of delivering a truly seamless parking experience for drivers in any parking scenario, whether it be on-street, off-street, real-time, or in advance," highlighted Ziglar.

Bosch is working on a similar parking reservation service for urban residents. Revealed during the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company launched a pilot program earlier this year to test the network that underpins the service. Using a set of ultrasonic sensors, real-time maps and algorithms, the platform monitors vacant parking spaces and provides occupancy data, based on local demand. So far, trials are live in Germany and other European locations. Bosch is expected to bring the technology to the US by the end of 2017.

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