A consortium of mobility researchers have come together to work on a commercial application for automated valet parking (AVP) called ParkAV.
The project is being partly funded by Innovate UK and the consortium is made up of Jaguar Land Rover, AppyWay (formerly AppyParking), Coventry City Council, Milton Keynes Council and managed by WhiteWillow Consulting.
Their combined efforts will focus on what is seen as the core issue for the successful introduction of Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs). How do cities, urban areas, traffic & highways planners ensure empty CAVs do not contribute to traffic and congestion?
The project aims to solve the issue of where CAVs will go to drop off passengers, how they park between trips to recharge, access storage, or be serviced and, importantly, blend the relationship between on and off-street parking to support Mobility as a Service (MaaS) operators.
The notion of AVP is actively being explored at a technical level by vehicle manufacturers globally.
However, the ‘ParkAV’ partners suggest that while such engineering developments are to be welcomed, developing a scalable and sustainable framework to see AVP become commonplace, and monetised, requires a deeper public and private sector collaboration.
Sunil Budheo, Coventry City Council innovation manager, said: “When thinking about what our constituents might expect in the future with the rise of CAVs, it’s important to focus on not only optimizing the user experience but also making sure the needs of the city are considered.
“Drop-offs and pick-ups for CAV journeys are likely to be on-street and close to points of interest, so both on-street and nearby off-street parking locations need to be part of our thinking. We must mitigate the circulation of empty vehicles on our streets and we’re proud to be continuing our innovative work in this space as part of the ParkAV project.”
The group have uncovered the baseline requirements and considerations across four key areas:
- User experience: what do consumers/passengers want and expect?
- Commercial model: how are all parties active within an AVP session compensated? How will the market opportunity be unlocked to enable scale?
- Integration: how do the physical and digital realms integrate across on and off-street infrastructure? How do cleaning and valet services access vehicles.
- Local government integration: off-street parking works best when it compliments on-street provision and supports local transport and traffic policies. Solutions that support both are important requirements for the mobility-as-a-service marketplace.
Key to the research is to understand the detailed flow of money and data that will enable multiple on and off-street operators and service providers to work together, presenting the operator and end consumer with a single interface with which to do business.