BMW to deploy predictive parking technology

BMW Group hopes to be able to shorten the search for vacant on-street parking in the future through work in its Dynamic Parking Prediction research project.

Together with partner Kirkland, Wash.-based Inrix, BMW presented a research prototype of the application at TU-Automotive Detroit (formerly Telematics Detroit) last week. The new mapping feature will tell drivers where parking is available and how much it costs. Inrix says BMW is the first auto maker to include the service in its ConnectedDrive cars.

BMW reminds us that it was one of the first auto makers to understand the importance of connectivity between cars, drivers and their surroundings. At the same time--because multiple strategies may be better than a single one when it comes to cars and connectivity--the company says it is further expanding its position as a premium mobility provider, with intelligent services and applications like ChargeNow, ParkNow or intermodal navigation.

The Inrix On-Street Parking service provides information about parking availability, pricing, permit restrictions and rules such as free versus paid times and days.

Besides using "smart parking technologies" such as in-pavement sensors and cloud-connected meters that are currently leveraged for Inrix's existing off-street parking feature, the new platform relies on the traffic-flow data the company mines from a variety of sources, reports PC Mag. Inrix also provides data for Audi, Lexus and Volvo's in-dash parking-finding features.

While the inaccuracies of GPS limits its ability to be absolutely sure a single driver has stopped at a particular meter or left from a particular meter, by defining a small zone around the meter, it can get a pretty good idea about arrivals and departures, a model that in initial tests has achieved 80 percent accuracy, according to Inrix.  

Initially available in Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Cologne and Copenhagen, the service will expand to cover 23 cities by the end of the year.

Transportation agencies are increasingly turning to intelligent parking solutions to better manage parking inventory and improve urban mobility. Inrix also has a solution for cities that provides them with a way to manage parking inventory as well as improve traffic in urban areas. Parking is considered the second largest source of revenue in most cities and, according to Inrix, expert estimates show deployment of smart parking technologies reduces traffic congestion while increasing compliance and revenue through better inventory utilization.

For more:
- see this PC Mag article
- see this WSJ blog
- see this BMW blog
- see this Inrix release

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