UK connected and autonomous driving trial facilitates city center parking

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The UK Autodrive project has this week demonstrated how connected and autonomous vehicle technology could help alleviate congestion by making it easier to find a parking space in congested city centers.

UK Autodrive project partners Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) showed in the UK city of Milton Keynes that connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) could communicate with each other and inform drivers of available parking spaces without the need for parking bay sensors. When entering a parking lot, the CAVs receive an updated heat map that shows parking availability and incorporates real-time updates as vehicles arrive and depart.

“Connected and autonomous vehicles are expected to bring a large number of social benefits, from improved road safety to an easing of traffic congestion due in part by a reduction in accidents. The possible benefits in terms of parking should also not be overlooked,” said Tim Armitage, Arup’s UK Autodrive project director.

In urban areas, it has been estimated that up to 30% of traffic congestion in busy periods is caused by drivers searching for a parking space*.

“In the future connected features will alert drivers to empty parking lot spaces and autonomous vehicles will be able to drive straight to them. Valet parking systems will enable autonomous vehicles to drop passengers at convenient points, after which the vehicle will leave by itself to undertake a further journey, or park out-of-town,” Armitage added.

“As well as making parking less of a hassle for individuals, these new ways of parking and drop-off will allow cities to radically redefine their use of space in the future – with far less land potentially needed for parking spaces in city centers.”

*Donald Shoup, “The High Cost of Free Parking” (based on an examination of 16 studies conducted around the world between 1927 and 2001).


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Rachel's career in journalism has seen her write for various titles at UKi Media & Events within automotive, tire and marine. Currently editor of ATTI, her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the groundbreaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of transportation.

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