Next Big Mobile App: Finding Motorists a Parking Space

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.

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