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Car and Driver: BMW’s On-Street Parking Information Service Finds Open Spots, Eases Traffic


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P90209176-highResBitching about parking, and especially the lack thereof, is basically a competitive sport for urban dwellers. Even if you have a reserved spot near your home or work, that merely eases the pain of commuting—what about the times you might, you know, actually want to get out and enjoy life without being held hostage by the valet or packed street spots? To help, BMW has introduced its On-Street Parking Information service, which is said to aid users in tracking down vacant on-street parking spaces.


Developed in collaboration with INRIX, a provider of real-time traffic information, BMW’s tech uses navigation information, wireless connectivity, and, well, math to concoct algorithms that are alleged to predict vacant on-street parking spaces. The idea is to combine the movements of connected vehicles that are either leaving or searching for parking spaces with a prediction model; possible parking options are then indicated on the car’s control display. This would allow a driver to head directly to zones with a higher probability of vacant spots. (Maybe you could team it with Tesla’s forthcoming “Summon” feature and park in Hoboken while dining in Manhattan.)


One potential hurdle today is the number of cars connected at any given time; if you’re circling the East Village in search of space but only a small percentage of vehicles are also offering up location information, we’d think the odds of finding a spot by chance would be better than relying on the service. BMW claims, however, that a research project it has conducted in major cities already has delivered reliable results.


In addition to tackling parking woes, BMW says the service provides an effective way of reducing the amount of traffic created by cars circling for a spot. If the idea of getting a little help from Big Brother to park the car appeals to you but sounds like another CES pipe dream, think again: BMW is rolling out On-Street Parking Information in Germany right now and says the service will be available stateside at the end of 2016.
-2016 Geneva Auto Show Full Coverage


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