A look back at the Parkopolis conference: “Connected cars, autonomous vehicles, and digital tools: towards what revolution?”

When we talk about urban mobility, all too often we forget about cities and their recurring problem of parking. We cannot have true mobility in cities without adequate parking. It’s impossible to imagine an urban transportation network infected with congested parking.

To address this crucial issue for communities, there is Parkopolis. Parkopolis is a biennial event that brings together stakeholders involved with road mobility and parking, to propose the latest innovations to municipalities.


What role do connected/autonomous cars play in the development of parking lots and garages?

For the 14th edition, a conference launched the international fair on June 19, 2019, with the theme being how cities are transformed with connected and autonomous cars.

Connected vehicles are already a reality. They create data without us even realizing it. Incidentally, we talk about a connected vehicle, but the reality is that there really is no need to equip a car with tools or digital devices. A simple smart phone is enough.

In fact, only a few French people have a connected car, but 75%* of the population has a smartphone (*Statista 2019).

Any car can be connected with a suitable phone.


A connected vehicle must only meet three requirements:

  • It is a smart car, meaning that it offers personalized services, driver assistance, and passenger safety services.
  • It is a car that is an integral part of an infrastructure, a network of identical vehicles, with service providers ensuring the quality of services inherent to each vehicle.
  • The autonomous car plays an undeniable role in the harmonious development of cities: managing traffic, relieving congestion, pedestrian safety, etc.

But it also plays a role in parking lots. Indeed, today, parking lots are a stopping point, between arriving and leaving depending on rush hour. In the future, the parking area will be primarily a service hub. Indeed, it is a time to recharge the vehicle, and to offer or get information on mobility.


Robotic Parking in Lyon

One of the most convincing examples is at Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport. We already talked about it on our Twitter a few months ago. Since March 2019, the parking lot at Lyon’s airport is completely autonomous.

Recall that the Stanley Robotics company has developed a robot valet parking service. These small autonomous agents take charge of your car, bringing it to a parking space, which was previously registered in the integrated computer’s database.

The combination of robotics and machine learning establishes a real time inventory of available spaces. The objective is to provisionally optimize space according to users’ arrivals and departures.

This system makes it possible to benefit from 50% more parking spaces in the same area, or between 500 and 2,000 additional places.

This world first in outdoor parking introduces a new market offer concerning public and private parking. Gatwick International Airport in the United Kingdom will be the 2nd to use this system beginning in the summer of 2019.

Editor’s note: This solution is no longer in the test phase and is now included in the services offered to passengers by the airport.


Autonomous Parking Solution in Issy-les-Moulineaux

Indigo is the world leader in parking and individual mobility. Cisco is the world leader in digital transformation, IT, and networks. Valeo is a French automotive supplier whose core business is to develop smart technology solutions.

What do these 3 have in common? Their joint project “Cyber Valet Services,” transforming urban space using the connected car. The driver can leave the controls of his vehicle at the parking lot, remotely using his phone.

The Camille Desmoulin parking garage has been equipped with a system embedded with technology based on artificial intelligence, Wi-Fi terminals, and video sensors to test this type of system.

The vehicle’s sensors make it possible to anticipate the slightest movements of other cars, as well as people, in complete safety. They also have the ability to remotely control the vehicle’s path, thanks to the integrated geopositioning.

What are the future developments?

Beyond parking, we can already imagine “smart parking” solutions that will offer motorists more associated services, such as automatic car washes and recharging of electric vehicles, as well as regular maintenance of the vehicle.

This type of system paves the way for diversifying parking lots, but especially for their transformation into complexes where services are offered. Of course, under the gaze of autonomy.

The vehicle’s autonomy will be the key, where everyone is already starting to think about the mobility and parking of tomorrow.

But one thing is certain: autonomy will not be achieved without the connected vehicle.


To read: Could smart parking save our cities?