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Audi testing cars that predict open parking spaces

| January 29, 2014

Finding an empty parking space remains one of the most daunting tasks drivers face, but Audi’s got you covered. The German automobile manufacturer is working on an Urban Intelligent Assist research initiative that predicts when the parking spaces around your destination will open up.

Initiative to address parking woes

Besides its own group of researchers at Electronics Research Laboratory in Silicon Valley, Audi has also roped in two other groups, one from U.C. Berkeley and the other from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.

Audi’s Urban Intelligent Assist uses big data, wireless connectivity, and the car’s navigation system to inform drivers the number of parking spaces currently available, and other spaces that will be available in the near future. Called as the Driver Centric Urban Navigation, the system “uses an Android smartphone running an Audi-developed app that combines a calendar and navigation into sort of GPS-infused day planner.”

Smart navigation predicts parking space

The navigation map pins empty parking spaces around the destination. Image by: Wired

According to Wired, the new navigation system syncs your destination info from the phone with the car’s navigation system through NFC, Bluetooth Low Energy, or Wi-Fi. Once your destination is set, Audi’s official app examines current and historical traffic data, determines travel time and the quickest route. The phone then displays a map indicating the number of empty parking spaces available in the area.

New navigation system analyzes driver’s habits

Due to its integration with Google Maps and Street View, instead of just reflecting street names, the new navigation system also provides conversational commands.

Moreover, the system creates a personalized profile of the driver on-board and creates a set of preferences. In the same way Google Now predicts information that users will need and delivers them based on their search habits, the Audi driver assist system analyzes the driver’s habits and provides directions accordingly.

Once on-board, the system combines the driver’s profile with other elements (like dynamic re-routing and traffic information). Besides displaying empty parking spaces, it also foretells the exact time the driver will take to reach the destination and where the vehicle should will be parked,.

Smart navigation syncs only with advanced parking systems

Audi’s “Smart Parking” system works only in case of advanced parking networks. For example, the 600 city blocks in San Francisco, where the system was first demonstrated, have sensors that connect to a central server. Seven hundred more such city blocks have been developed in Los Angeles and Hollywood. The system marks the spot as occupied or empty, without taking into account whether the driver feeds the meter.

“The more advanced traffic monitoring systems and parking sensors implemented, the more accurate the system will be.”

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Category: Miscellaneous, New Products, News, Parking Tech

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