by Jon LeSage, remarketing editor at Automotive Digest
While drivers demand the latest and best real-time driving directions and freedom from crashes and traffic congestion, what’s next?
The next big thing: finding a parking space.
A few startup companies have developed mobile apps allowing motorists to find and reserve parking spots at their destinations, usually in big cities like New York, London, and San Francisco.
Audi, BMW, Daimler, and Renault-Nissan have added parking to their infotainment offerings
BMW is really into it as part of its $100 million investment in mobile technologies. In 2011, the automaker invested in ParkatmyHouse.com in the UK, which allows motorists to rent out their home driveways to other motorists. In 2012, BMW started up a joint venture to back ParkNow, which offers parking spaces in San Francisco. This year, Parkopedia was added to BMW’s portfolio; that service boasts about offering 26,000 parking facilities in North America.
An independent startup says it has even more locations – ParkMe says it offers offers the perfect spot at 28,000 locations, 1,800 cities, seven continents…. even Antarctica. It’s a free app where you can find the closest, cheapest parking nearby and real-time availability at select destinations — and it helped people find the best parking during LA Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo.
Mercedes-Benz acquired part of GottaPark Inc., a San Francisco-based service that offers access to 300,000 parking spots in San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Denver, Houston, Boston, Chicago, Miami, and Vancouver.
Some apps also guide the driver to an open parking spot on city streets. With approval of city government, the parking service installs curbside sensors to monitor the availability of those spaces.
BMW will be tying its parking apps to its i3 electric car in the US next year. EV owners are likely to appreciate finding a parking space, especially if it has a charging station.