Detroit lab to test parking and EV tech

Collaboration involved input from Ford, Bosch and Bedrock 
Parking & Access Control / August 13, 2021
By Ben Spencer
Enterprise Detroit smart lab Bosch Ford parking EV technologies QTA process
Detroit will examine how parking and EV charging tech can enhance efficiencies through the QTA process (image credit: Robert Bosch)

Enterprise is leading a collaboration to launch a test site that will allow mobility companies to test parking-related mobility and electric vehicle (EV) charging technologies. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says: “Innovative collaborations like the Detroit Smart Parking Lab are solving issues that will make transportation more accessible and affordable while creating an environment for technology and mobility-related companies to thrive and grow in Michigan.”

Enterprise, a car rental agency, is to test how the automated valet parking technology can apply to the quick turnaround (QTA) process where rental vehicles are returned, serviced via cleaning and fuelling and then staged for future rentals.

An initial project will examine how automated valet parking and EV charging technologies can help enhance operational efficiencies through the QTA process. 

It will also assess the technical, operational and financial feasibility of such technologies as part of the vehicle rental process.

Chris Grayson, regional vice president at Enterprise in Detroit, says the project will allow the company to explore viability of connected, autonomous and electrified mobility with technology collaborators. 

“As consumer demand and infrastructure viability increases in the coming years, these types of vehicle technology will play an increasingly important role in both the future of sustainable mobility overall and our fleet at Enterprise,” Grayson adds. 

Aside from Enterprise, the collaboration includes input from Ford, Bosch, Bedrock and the American Center for Mobility.

Heather Wilberger, chief information officer at Bedrock, says: “Finding parking in urban environments can account for as much as 30% of vehicle traffic and emissions. As the city’s largest real estate developer, these collaborations and programmes allow us to develop, test and implement advanced parking technologies to help reduce parking time and emissions, helping to drive sustainability benefits throughout our portfolio.”

As part of the project, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification have established a funding programme where organisations can secure funding to develop parking-related solutions within and around garages. 

The lab builds upon a demonstration in August 2020 in which automated valet parking technology from Bosch allowed Ford Escape vehicles to drive and park themselves at Bedrock’s Assembly garage.

Craig Stephens, director, controls & automated systems at Ford research and advanced engineering, says: “Parallel parking or finding spots in busy, tight structures are some of the most stressful driving situations, which is why Ford invested heavily in innovations such as our parallel parking assistance technology. The Detroit Smart Parking Lab will help us collaborate with other innovators on even better solutions to make parking easier, so it doesn’t spoil an evening out.”

Interested parties can inquire about space in the lab at visiting the American Center for Mobility website Information on grants available to supporting projects utilising the lab can be found here

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