Oakland County, just outside Detroit, is aiming to become the first to implement a county-wide connected car ecosystem
At the beginning of the last century the fledging American car industry made Detroit its home. Over the course of the ensuing decades the car transformed how Americans live and work and the fortunes of US car companies and the city became inextricably intertwined.
So it’s only natural that Oakland County, just outside of Detroit, is at the forefront of the next evolution of the car industry. Earlier this year Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said that he would foster the first nationwide connected car ecosystem where cars communicate with each other and the infrastructure to make the roads safer.
Oakland County understands the massive potential of connected cars and is working with partners like HERE to usher in a new era of personal mobility with huge benefits to customers and society. When he announced the initiative Patterson said that the ecosystem would allow cars to send location data to other cars and road infrastructure to ultimately reduce traffic accidents and give better information to first responders.
Oakland County’s Connected Car ecosystem goes a long way in making life easier for urban motorists in small ways as well. For example, what if cars could talk to each other and the infrastructure so that when you could more easily find a parking spot?
Think about modern parking garage: typically a modern multi-storey car park knows how many spaces it has in total, and the number of cars that are in the facility, so it knows the number of empty spaces available at any point.
Unfortunately, the building doesn’t know where those spaces are, and most of us are probably familiar with the experience of driving round and round, and up and down, a multi-storey car park to find one of the last remaining spaces.
But what can be done? We can make a map of the building and its parking spaces, but GPS and the Internet don’t work very well at all indoors or underground.
So instead, HERE and partner Paxgrid have devised a new system that makes use of DSRC (dedicated short-range communication) units placed around the facility that both allow for indoor positioning to an accuracy of less than one metre, and LTE communications to the cars in the building.
When a car leaves a parking space, it can tell a central system which bay has been emptied, and the next car is signalled with information as to where that space exists. Since the plan is for all cars in the county to become connected, the space won’t be swiped by another car while you’re still navigating to it.
“Smart parking technology is just one of the many applications we see in a countywide connected vehicle ecosystem that will improve safety and convenience for drivers,” Patterson said.
“By partnering with HERE to demonstrate how the cloud can provide the real-time data needed to help urban drivers find parking more quickly and efficiently, we hope to bring intelligent parking technology to Oakland County and other cities worldwide sooner than previously thought possible.”