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Detroit Smart Parking Lab opens in September for real-world automated and EV charging testing

The State of Michigan is teaming up with Ford, Bedrock and Bosch to launch the nation’s first-of-its-kind, real-world test site for emerging parking technology, called the Detroit Smart Parking Lab. The lab opens in September, allowing mobility and smart infrastructure pioneers and real-estate innovators and startups to test parking-related mobility, logistics and electric vehicle charging technologies.

Led by Enterprise, the collaboration also aims to test more seamless and efficient rental car returns.

Collaboration is essential for the future of mobility. With the Detroit Smart Parking Lab, we have a cross section of collaborators—from government leaders to mobility and tech companies—that that will empower us to bring innovation to market through collaboration.

—Paul Thomas, executive vice president of Mobility Solutions, Americas for Bosch

DSPL builds upon the automated valet parking demonstration led by Ford, Bedrock and Bosch in August 2020 when they showcased Bosch automated valet parking technology that allowed Ford Escape vehicles to drive and park themselves at Bedrock’s Assembly garage.

To spur other innovators exploring advanced parking technologies, the MEDC in partnership with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification has established the Michigan Mobility Funding Program where organizations can secure funding to develop and test parking-inspired mobility solutions within and around the garage.

DSPL-FINAL-Rendering

Real estate, auto and government working hand-in-hand allows us to not only maintain Detroit’s position as the Motor City but showcase the city as the evolving tech hub of the Midwest. Finding parking in urban environments can account for as much as 30% of vehicle traffic and emissions. As the city’s largest real estate developer, these collaborations and programs allow us to develop, test and implement advanced parking technologies to help reduce parking time and emissions, helping to drive sustainability benefits throughout our portfolio.

—Heather Wilberger, chief information officer at Bedrock

Enterprise, the brand owned by the largest car rental provider in the world as measured by revenue and fleet, will test how the automated valet parking technology can apply to the quick turnaround (QTA) process where rental vehicles are returned, serviced via cleaning and fueling (including charging) and then staged for future rentals.

The smart parking lab’s initial project examines how automated technology—specifically automated valet parking and EV charging technologies—can help enhance operational efficiencies through the QTA process. The project will examine the technical, operational and financial feasibility of such technologies as part of the vehicle rental process.

The open innovation platform at this smart parking lab offers multiple ways for mobility organizations to use the facility independently, work together with founding members on a specific project or apply for grant projects. Interested organizations can inquire about space in the lab, and collaborations by visiting the American Center for Mobility website. Information on innovation grants available to support projects utilizing DSPL can be found by visiting the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform.

Day-to-day operations of the parking lab will be managed by the American Center for Mobility (ACM), a not-for-profit collaborative effort comprising government, industry and academic organizations focused on accelerating the mobility industry supporting advanced and scientific research, testing, standards and educational programs.

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