The State of Michigan is teaming up with Ford, Bedrock and Bosch to launch the Detroit Smart Parking Lab, a test site for emerging parking technology.
The lab is set to open in September, which allows mobility and smart infrastructure pioneers, real-estate innovators, and startups to test parking-related mobility, logistics, and electric vehicle charging technologies.
The collaboration led by Enterprise aims to test more efficient rental car returns.
“Michigan continues to lead the way in developing, testing and deploying the solutions that will drive the future of transportation, including mobility-related parking solutions,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Innovative collaborations like the Detroit Smart Parking Lab are solving issues that will make transportation more accessible and affordable while creating an environment for technology and mobility-related companies to thrive and grow in Michigan.”
Whitmer announced the collaboration Thursday at the Management Briefing Seminars hosted by the Center for Automotive Research in Traverse City, Michigan.
“Collaboration is essential for the future of mobility,” said Paul Thomas, executive VP of Mobility Solutions, Americas for Bosch. “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.”
The MEDC in partnership with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification has established the Michigan Mobility Funding Program. Organization can secure funding to develop and test parking-inspired mobility solutions within and around the garage.
"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," said Heather Wilberger, chief information officer at Bedrock. "Finding parking in urban environments can account for as much as 30 percent 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."
Enterprise will test how the automated valet parking technology can apply to the quick turnaround (QTA) process where rental vehicles are returned, serviced, and then staged for future rentals.
The smart parking lab’s initial project looks at how automated technology can help improve operational efficiencies through the QTA process.
"Participation in the DSPL project allows Enterprise to explore the feasibility and viability of autonomous, connected, and electrified mobility innovations with recognized technology collaborators," said Chris Grayson, regional VP at Enterprise in Detroit. "As consumer demand and infrastructure viability increases in the coming years, these types of vehicle technology will play an increasingly important role in both the future of sustainable mobility overall and our fleet at Enterprise."
Day-to-day operations of the parking lab will be managed by the American Center for Mobility (ACM) and academic organizations focused on accelerating the mobility industry supporting scientific research, testing, standards, and educational programs.
"ACM has broad experience operating a 500-acre smart mobility test center where we’ve seen the power of testing emerging mobility technologies in intentionally challenging environments," said Reuben Sarkar, president and CEO of ACM. "The Detroit Smart Parking Lab provides a new platform for ACM to introduce our operational excellence and client-base to, enabling further development of new mobility innovations."