Ford's Detroit Smart Parking Lab will open next month

Ford has announced that its Detroit Smart Parking Lab (DSPL) will officially open for business in September. The facility is the first real-world test site in the nation for emerging parking technology. Ford says the facility is designed to allow mobility and smart infrastructure pioneers, real estate innovators, and startups to test parking-related mobility, logistics, and various electric vehicle charging technologies.

One of the major types of testing conducted at the facility is an easier way for car-rental customers to return their vehicles. DSPL is hosted at the Bedrock Assembly Garage, which Ford says provides it with a physical environment allowing it to simulate real-world scenarios to test new technology.

Some of the technology tested in the building include automated valet parking and electric vehicle charging tech enabling quick turn-around operations. Ford has previously showcased the new Bosch automated valet parking technology using its Escape SUV. The tech allows the Ford Escape to drive and park itself inside the Bedrock Assembly Garage.

Ford believes that some of the most stressful driving situations people encounter include finding spots inside busy parking garages. So the automaker is investing heavily in technology, including parallel parking assistance, to help reduce stress on the driver. Using the Detroit Smart Parking Lab, Ford plans to collaborate with other innovators to design better solutions.

DSPL is located in the historic Corktown neighborhood, where Ford has been investing heavily. The same neighborhood is home to the Michigan Central Station restoration project Ford is undertaking. It's also the same neighborhood where Ford is developing a mobility innovation district anchored by Michigan Central Station. One of the companies that Ford is working with at DSPL right out of the gate is car rental agency Enterprise. The rental company will use the DSPL facility to test automated valet parking and its electric vehicle charging technology.