UK opens test centre for automated parking
In a step forward for autonomous vehicle adoption, the UK’s first facility to test and support the development of automated parking solutions is under construction in the Midlands. While autonomous vehicle technology has had its setbacks over the past few years, it is still set to change the way we (and the things we need) move from A to B. Parking – a critical service for public mobility – is an important step for innovation.
Movement in the Midlands
‘Trusted Autonomous Parking’ (Park-IT) is being delivered by Nuneaton-based engineering firm, HORIBA MIRA which has partnered with the University of Coventry to develop a multi-storey car park, on-road parking bays and parking lot environments to “provide real-world parking situations to support the development of self-parking solutions.”
The autonomous parking bays will operate within a purpose-built ‘cityscape’ test track environment, allowing easy verification of the transition from an urban driving environment into a dedicated parking facility. Supported by a ‘digital twin’, users will be able to replicate parking scenarios in simulation.
How will autonomous parking benefit the public?
Transport data firm Inrix calculated the average UK driver loses £1,317 each from congestion and wastes an average total of four days every year looking for a parking space at their destination.
Should self-driving parking technology become a reality, autonomous valet parking may become a public service in the near future. No more driving around searching for spaces, less stress and less petrol wasted – the vehicle will simply park itself.
No easy feat
To realise these benefits, challenges within the self-driving environment – such as tight locations, restricted visibility, lack of GPS (in covered locations) - must be addressed. Specialist locations – such as Park-IT’s purpose-built ‘cityscape’ – provide a safe solution for now, but if automated-parking were to be rolled out universally, all parking environments would need to be altered.
Park-IT’s autonomous research is already helping to define what is possible for self-parking vehicles – from its functional performance to level of safety. Should innovation continue to progress at its current pace, it may provide groundbreaking assistance for the companies and individuals vying for autonomous vehicle adoption on public roads, soon and at scale.
A change for today
In lieu of autonomous parking hitting the mainstream, there are other digital technologies available to help local authorities reduce parking stresses for the resident motorists. Chipside currently works with more than half of all UK councils to deliver digital parking solutions that give citizens and local businesses the ability to pay for parking and permits using mobile, telephone or the Internet.
Where parking demand outstrips supply, our connected parking and permitting services have the potential to help local authorities find solutions. We combine large datasets - such as analysis of traffic flows - with real-time on-street parking demand to enable the setting of demand-led parking tariffs and inform decisions around traffic management policies, the building of new parking facilities and the development of new resident parking schemes.