BMW Will Make Finding Parking Spots Easier Through iPark Service

Jun 06, 2015 07:52 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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BMW is planning a new mapping feature that would tell drivers where primo parking spots are available, or unavailable, in urban areas.

Developed by Kirkland, Washington-based information researcher Inrix, the iPark technology could help drivers cut back on fuel use, while also lowering congestion in cities around the globe, according to BMW.

So how does the system work? Ideally, a BMW driver would be able to look at a map of a neighborhood or city through BMW's navigation system and tell where a parking spot is available based on what colors appear.

Each color means something unique, for example, red means there probably isn't a parking spot available, so you should keep looking. Green, however, means you should have no problem finding a spot in a given location. Parking restrictions will also show up, like if no parking is allowed after certain hours.

"There is a clear demand from customers living in large cities for a system capable of predicting on-street parking availability," said Martin Hauschild, Head of Traffic Technology and Traffic Management at the BMW Group, in a press statement. "Through its collaboration with INRIX, the BMW Group aims to continue setting the benchmark in urban mobility into the future."

Inrix also developed the system to show parking garages, if there is any availability and how much it will cost to park there, according to BMW.

The system was demonstrated on a BMW i3 EV during the Telematics Automotive conference in Detroit this week. While the system will be featured in a number of newer BMW models, Inrix is also in talks with other automakers about adding the function.

"We are starting from an excellent baseline since most of our vehicles are already equipped with connected technology ex factory" said Hauschild.

At first, iPark will launch in six cities, including, Amsterdam, Cologne, Copenhagen, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver.

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