Bosch Wants to Take the Pain out of Finding a Parking Space

Crowdsourced data, high-res maps, and artificial intelligence will team up to help you park faster.

byLiane Yvkoff|
Car Tech photo

It seems like a completely foreign concept today, but in the future, your fellow drivers may be able to help you find a parking space faster. At this year's Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, Bosch revealed that the company is testing technology that crowdsources available parking space data on surface streets and directs vehicles towards open spots, in a bid to reduce time wasted searching for a place to park.

As part of its new so-called "community-based parking" pilot program, Bosch has equipped a number of test vehicles with ultrasonic sensors that scan curbs for free parking spaces, measures them, and transmits that information to cloud-based digital street maps. Bosch’s high-performance algorithms calculate the likeliness that the space will be available based on real-time data from vehicles in the vicinity, and drivers using the maps can navigate directly to an open space rather than circle one block after another.

Bosch is already testing this feature in Germany and a few other European cities, and the company says pilot projects in the United States are planned for later in 2017. The company is initially working with Mercedes-Benz to test this technology, but says it is actively searching for other manufacturers to participate in the development of the time-saving system.

The company also used CES to announce a separate new initiative that's destined for the mass market a little sooner than the parking spot helper. Bosch will soon begin offering an aftermarket version of its eCall automatic emergency notification system that plugs into any vehicle's 12V outlet;  in the event of an accident, will contact either the automobile's owner or emergency responders.