Ford, Bedrock and Bosch Partner to Demonstrate Automated Valet System

Ford and Bosch have cumulated their technologies in a blue Ford SUV car to demonstrate an automated valet system. In the demonstration which was running in Detroit, Ford’s Escape system communicate with the Bosch sensors, spot the parking, and park itself effortlessly.

The wholesome system allows the drivers to exit the vehicle and after tapping a few buttons on the smartphone, the vehicle directs itself to the parking spot. This system not only follows the instructions but also enables the vehicle to infrastructure communication which allows it to respond to the obstacles.

It’s not the first time Bosch is partnering with an automobile maker for the automated valet system. In 2017, Bosch partnered with Daimler to build an automated valet system for the Mercedes Benz Museum. Fast forward in 2019, the system got approval from Germany regulatory, and thereby, it was the world’s first SAE Level 4 parking function without any human behind the vehicle.

Earlier, the Bosch partnership with Daimler relied on Mercedes systems which had cost around USD 100,000. Meanwhile, its collaboration with Ford today has reduced the overall system cost by one-fourth which is USD 25,000. Ford’s CTO Ken Washington said that the company is not ready to reveal when valet technology will amalgamate with its production vehicles. While he added that it’s now the company’s one of the missions to get rid of the parking issues.

The building of an automated valet system was possible due to the real estate development company Bedrock who has partnered with the tech companies to build a center for mobility solutions. Kevin Bopp, the vice president of parking and mobility for Bedrock, said that “The goal is as soon as practically possible to deliver a safe experience.” In the age of smarter parking garages, the need for smarter cars would fuel the development of autonomous vehicles.

In the demonstration, Bosch rolled out its LiDar towers at a strategic interval around the garage and connected its Bosch server via a Wi-Fi router on the garage’s walls. Ford’s Escape has its own automated braking and pedestrian detection systems. During the demonstration, every information received was from Bosch servers. Currently, there are no industry standards on sharing the information. “We have some ideas” about how to roll out the flow of information and some of them are going to get validated this month, said Kevin Mull, director of sales for mobility solutions in Bosch

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According to Ford’s partnership with Bosch, the automated system located in the Assembly Garage in Detroit will be able to accommodate 20% more vehicles and provide additional services such as washing, refueling, or charging, among others. Moreover, this partnership will be dedicated to the development of autonomous vehicles. The development of the valet system was appraised by Detroit’s Major and the citizens of Detroit and Michigan.

 “We see parking as a really important mobility use case,” said Mull. “We’re taking smart mobility and blending it with intelligent infrastructure and providing a really important capability to consumers.”. The demonstration is expected to last through September as companies would be learning about the challenges and capabilities along the way and then, it will make available for users.