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An App That Can Find the Closest Parking Space Just Made Our Day

It’s frustrating when you’ve been circling around for a long time looking for that elusive parking space for your car. It’s a waste of your time, energy, and money, and can even cause bad vibes with strangers.

Now, what if we tell you that there’s an app that allows a car’s parking sensors to measure the length and width of open parking spots, and create a map that allows you to find the nearest vacant space based on your car’s location and size? Would that make your life better? It surely does.

This software app is from Bosch, which is already used in some cars like the Tesla Model S. It works the same way a bat operates: by using ultra sonic sound waves that bounce off obstacles to control their navigation.

“The sensors are using those distance measurements to identify where there’s an opening and how much distance there is to the curb to basically create a box around the parking spot,” says Director of Connected Mobility Soutions at Bosch, Kevin Mull.

It registers those sound waves and analyzes it via its central control unit.

“The vehicles are able to pick up and feed that information automatically,” he adds.  “The more data going into the exchange, the better the data coming out.”

Is it 100% effective?

Still, the app is not fool-proof, because there’s one important, “uncontrolled variable” in the mix: humans.

“Parking behavior is super complex and research has shown that humans don’t really make good snap judgements when given complex information like availability, price, and proximity,” said William Riggs, who researches urban planning at the University of San Francisco School of Management, about the technology.

“Many times, they just gamble, like when ignoring the routing advice your phone gives you because you think you know better, or because you think everyone else will do what the navigation says but that you’re smarter. Ultimately people will make irrational decisions by habit.”

With all the benefits the app gives,will it also solve traffic congestion?

“Perhaps, if we can ever take human beings out of the decision-making process, congestion might improve,” Riggs stated. “But until we get irrational actors out of the decision-making process, I think it’s safe to assume that parking information in cars won’t be a silver bullet to solve congestion.”

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