Trying to find a parking space in a city center isn't just frustrating at times, but can also waste time, cost money and result in needless tailpipe emissions. We've already seen a prototype from BMW that uses data from cars to predict where free spaces can be found, and now Bosch has revealed a system where the parking spaces themselves are used to inform drivers where they can park.

Active parking lot management employs sensors that are installed either on or in the ground of each space. They regularly check whether or not the space is occupied and relay the information wirelessly to a server. Two types of detection are used so that a level of redundancy is built into the system.

The sensors, which are about the diameter of a compact disc and 3 cm (1.2 in) in height, are powered by batteries, not mains electricity, meaning that no cables are required. Bosch says that an entire car park can therefore be fitted with the system in under 24 hours.

Due to the low power consumption of the sensor, the battery will last for up to seven years. The battery level can be viewed by the parking lot operator at any time, ensuring that the system can be adequately maintained. The sensors are weather-proof and can withstand the wear and tear caused by heavy vehicles.

The system is designed to be accessed by drivers via a web portal or a mobile app. Prior to beginning a journey, drivers can view where there is parking available and filter the results by factors like space size or type (such as for people with children or the disabled). The mobile app can be used to direct drivers straight to a free space.

The system offers benefits for parking lot operators, too. It can, for example, show information about when spaces are typically filled, with statistics then used to improve the occupancy-rate of lots. A cashless payment function can also be enabled if required.

The video below provides an introduction to the active parking lot management system.

Source: Bosch