Ford has unveiled details of two new mobility projects aimed at addressing the daily frustration of finding parking in a crowded city.
Together with mobile app valet service Cheyaoshi and smart parking developer Ding Ding, Ford is experimenting with real solutions to take the stress out of getting around.
“For millions of commuters in Asia Pacific, finding parking comes at the cost of wasted time and fuel,” said John Larsen, director, Ford Smart Mobility, Ford Asia Pacific. All this adds to longer commutes, worsening congestion and higher stress. Our mobile valet experiment with Cheyaoshi and our smart parking experiment with Ding Ding are a couple ways we are trying to find innovative solutions to help commuters.”
The need for better parking solutions is illustrated by a recent survey conducted on behalf of Ford across Asia Pacific. More than one in five survey respondents said their commute is the worst part of their day, on top of 34 percent who simply find it inconvenient – and for a third of respondents, it is getting worse. For more than 18 percent of respondents across the region, finding parking is the primary reason for a worsening commute. This makes it a prime target for Ford, which is investing in smart mobility experiments across the region as it works to once again change the way that people move.
The problem is particularly acute in China, where nearly one-quarter of survey respondents blamed parking difficulties for a worsening commute. But China’s eagerness to adopt new technologies – more than 48 percent see advanced technologies like autonomous features and real-time traffic information as potential congestion cures – also makes it an ideal market for the parking experiments.
“The work we’ve been doing with Cheyaoshi and Ding Ding helps relieve some of the pain of parking today and also helps us determine the approaches that are most effective for commuters,” said Julius Marchwicki, director, Connected Vehicles and Services, Ford Asia Pacific. “These kinds of experiments deepen our understanding of what commuters want and need, and enable us to serve them more effectively as a mobility company.”
At Ford’s Asia Pacific headquarters in Shanghai’s bustling Lujiazui financial district, four out of ten employees said in an internal survey that they spend an extra 10 to 20 minutes every day finding parking near the office. Together with Cheyaoshi, Ford found cheaper, available parking about a kilometer from the Ford office, and launched a valet program to make parking more convenient.
Participants used the app to have a valet meet them at the Ford office in the morning; the valet then parked the car, where it waited safely until the user summoned it using the app. At the end of the day, employees could then either have the car delivered to the office, or anywhere within a 2.5-kilometer radius.
Another partnership – the Ford and Ding Ding Parking Space Lock experiment – approaches the problem of urban parking through the sharing economy. Vehicle owners can use SYNC, Ford’s leading voice controlled infotainment system, to activate and deactivate a physical parking space lock on one of tens of thousands of parking spaces on Ding Ding’s platform, granting users exclusive use of conveniently located parking spaces. Once a driver has locked a parking space, they can also use the app to rent it out to other drivers for a share of parking fees, or authorize family and friends to use it for free. All functions are activated through SYNC giving users convenient hands-free control of Ding Ding’s functions. In addition, drivers of Ford vehicles can reserve exclusive VIP spaces on Ding Ding’s platform using SYNC, including in busy areas.