• Cars also automatically identify and report available parking spaces
  • Real-time parking map shortens nerve-wracking search
  • Stress-free search for parking spaces in downtown areas and parking garages
Today, looking for a place to park is often a time-consuming and frustrating process. In the future, Bosch sensors – installed on the road’s surface and in passing cars – will automatically identify and report available spaces. With the help of a real-time online parking map, drivers will be able to find an available parking space conveniently and without any hassle.The search for an available parking space in downtown areas and parking garages is a nerve-wracking and time-consuming daily chore for drivers. But it could soon be a thing of the past. Bosch has developed solutions to create real-time maps of available parking spaces with the help of wireless sensors installed on the pavement. These sensors recognize whether a parking space is occupied or not, and share this information via the internet. In the future, even cars passing by available parking spaces will be capable of reporting them. The ultrasonic sensors installed in many modern cars to support their parking assistance functions identify gaps along the side of the road. Since many vehicles are now online, this information can also be transmitted over the internet and displayed on a real-time map. Transmitting this real-time information to users’ smartphones or directly to their cars’ navigation devices can help shorten drivers’ often taxing search for parking spaces.

“With these solutions, Bosch is demonstrating how sensors and internet connectivity can make many people’s everyday lives significantly easier, even when it comes to parking. Our solution offers drivers more convenience and saves them time,” says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the Bosch board of management and in charge of automotive electronics. The solution will be unveiled at the Bosch ConnectedWorld conference in Berlin. The international industry meeting takes place in Berlin on February 17 and 18, 2015 and showcases solutions for the connected world.

Search for parking spaces: nerve-wracking, expensive, and bad for the environment
In Germany, the average search for a parking space takes ten minutes, according to a survey of drivers on behalf of Europe’s market leader in the field of parking management. The survey reveals that Germans drive 4.5 kilometers when looking for somewhere to park, resulting in vehicle costs of 1.35 euros per search. In short, the faster people find a parking space, the less nerve-wracking, expensive, and environmentally damaging the experience. The solution developed by Bosch could make a major contribution to changing things. The wireless sensors installed on the pavement are built into stable, semicircular plastic housing similar to the kind often used to mark lanes on roads. The wireless sensor is capable of recognizing whether a car is parked over it. A tiny, energy-saving radio transmitter in the sensor reports this information to a receiver (similar to a home wifi router) that is capable of gathering data from hundreds of sensors. “The status information is then transmitted over the internet to a database. A software program creates a parking map of the respective area practically in real time,” says Dr. Rolf Nicodemus, head of the Connected Parking project at Bosch. “Depending on the application, we could be talking about a level of a parking garage, a street, or an entire downtown area.”

Energy-saving wireless technology
Another advantage of the new development is that the sensors can remain in place for several years, doing away with the time and expense needed to change batteries or sensors. The power supply lasts for such a long time because the sensors require extremely little power for data transmission and feature an advanced energy management system, eliminating the need for elaborate and failure-prone cabling. “Connected parking shows how Bosch will actively shape the connected world. Sensors, software, and services – this is our ‘3S’ program for the connectivity business. We use sensors to record the environment and software to convert information into usable data. The resulting service offers users a concrete benefit,” Dirk Hoheisel says.

Drive-by parking space recognition
Another solution developed by Bosch allows cars to recognize parking spaces as they drive past them. “Many cars already feature parking assistance functions, which means they are also equipped with Bosch ultrasonic sensors,” Nicodemus says.

“As the vehicle drives past, these sensors identify spaces between the cars parked along the side of a road. Because more and more cars are also online, this information can be transmitted to a database at a high speed.” The more cars participate in this system, the more detailed and up-to-date the map.

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