Please, after you! No, I insist, after you!
When politeness and common sense are black holes in a driver's character, a situation as mundane as finding a parking spot can quickly escalate into road rage territory.
Enter Mercedes-Benz and their new initiative that wants to end the stress caused by the assiduous and often frustrating search for a parking spot in the big city jungle.
Simply put, Mercedes-Benz cars will notify each other about free parking slots.
The rationale behind this is quite simple. When they are not looking to park their vehicle, drivers usually pass by empty parking spots that otherwise remain unknown to other drivers.
Hardware-wise, the system involves the ultrasonic sensors already found in most Mercedes-Benz cars, which will scan "the roadside at speeds of up to 55 kilometers per hour."
Whenever a free parking spot is identified, "the collected data is sent from the Daimler Vehicle Backend" for analysis. The system even has a safeguard feature that knows if the place is indeed a parking space:
"If, for instance, vehicles keep reporting an available space at a particular spot on a busy road, it is highly likely that this is a driveway and therefore cannot be used for parking."
A pilot program is already underway in the greater Stuttgart area, and several Mercedes-Benz vehicles are testing the system's efficiency.
For now, the phase-one system is able to calculate a car's chance of finding an available space on a given street, but for a second phase, its developers claim "it should even be possible to report the availability and dimensions of curbside spaces in real time."
Well, if you're interested in our two cents, it's these small but significant solutions that can make a difference around the city, before carmakers and the public are ready for autonomous driving in the concept's real sense.