Ford, Bosch partner on automated valet parking in Detroit’s Corktown

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Ford Motor Co., supplier Bosch and Bedrock, a commercial real estate company, are launching a project to test connected Ford Escape crossovers that can drive and park themselves.

The project uses Ford Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technologies and a set of Bosch intelligent parking infrastructure sensors for automated valet parking inside Bedrock’s Assembly Garage in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, the companies said Wednesday. That’s the same area where Ford is establishing a mobility campus at the historic Michigan Central Station, an abandoned train depot.

Upon arriving at Assembly Garage, the driver will leave the vehicle in a designated area and use an app to initiate an automated parking maneuver.

Drivers also use the app to request the return of the vehicle to the designated pickup area.

In addition to parking, the technology can navigate the vehicle to service areas within the garage, such as a charging station or car wash.

“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, Bosch North America president, said in a statement. “This technology enables consumers to see the benefit of highly automated technology as the vehicle handles a task such as parking in a garage.”

The demo began this week and is currently slated to run through September.

“We recognize the importance of interconnectivity between real estate and mobility,” Heather Wilberger, chief information officer at Bedrock, said in the statement. “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.”

Bosch has long been working on its intelligent parking infrastructure; the supplier started demo-ing automated valet parking technology in Stuttgart with Daimler in July 2019.

The Detroit parking project isn’t Ford’s only foray into the advanced vehicle technology realm in the city.

The State of Michigan this month outlined efforts to create a corridor between Detroit and Ann Arbor with infrastructure specifically for connected and autonomous vehicles. Ford is a partner.

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Saurabh Shukla

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