Transport Theory

Let your car find you a parking space

Let your car find you a parking space

Posting in Technology

Prototype technology from BMW would use micro-maps to direct drivers to parking spots without the use of GPS.

BMW has developed what could be a solution to urban parking woes. The automaker recently presented a prototype of its ConnectedDrive navigation system, which uses micro-navigation technology to help drivers reach their destinations -- literally telling them where to park their cars.

The system, which has been in development for three years, uses micro-maps instead of GPS. The system uses the car's forward-facing cameras to establish the driver's positioning, and sensors determine the car's elevation. The driver uses the micro-map to plan his or her route in advance, down to the desired parking spot. Since the system does not rely on GPS, you could theoretically use the micro-maps to visualize places - like underground parking garages, for instance - beyond the reach of a GPS signal.

When the driver leaves the car, the information can be sent to his or her mobile device, allowing the driver to locate the car later on.

The effectiveness of the system depends on the availability of micro-maps in any given location. But as the camera technology necessary for the ConnectedDrive system becomes standard in more vehicles, the system could become a viable solution for drivers eager to minimize parking-related hassles. Still to be determined, though, is whether the system will be able to detect if the parking spot you had your eye on will still be available once you arrive at your destination.

See BMW's micro-navigation system in action:

Readers, what do you think? Would you be more likely to buy a car with a similar system built in?

Photo: BMW

via [CarScoop, CNET]

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Channtal Fleischfresser

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Channtal Fleischfresser has worked for The Economist, WNET/Channel 13, Al Jazeera English, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure