Ever since ancient man invented the wheel, he has been jockeying with his fellows for the best place to park it, stone or otherwise. Audi is aiming to solve this by letting you know whether there are any spots open on your favorite street. How? By receiving city data and feeding it to an app on your smartphone or mobile device.
Everyone knows that while apps like Google Maps can guide you to your destination, they will not let you know the best place to park. Oftentimes it’s a game of circling your location, hunting open spaces like a vulture while that little computerized voice chips away at your sanity because it thinks you’ve lost yours: “Rerouting…rerouting…turn left on…go straight 200 feet…will you just slow down?…rerouting…for heaven’s sake, I’m trying to help you, Dave!”
Audi’s new app uses something called Urban Intelligent Assist. Some cities have sensors along the streets that let a central database know how many parking spaces are occupied. The Audi app pulls from this data so that when you pull onto a street, pins appear on a map to show which spaces are open. Or if you prefer to keep your eyes on the road and not a screen—what a concept!—the app will simply tell you how many open spaces there are on the block.
Audi also employs the cool kids with math skills, so the app is smart enough to compare parking availability to historical data—how many people park on Hargett at 8:45 p.m. on a Tuesday?—to let you know how many spots might be open by the time you get there. The app calculates your drive time and updates its algorithm as you arrive.
Because you now might have a short walk to get to your final destination, the app will factor that into your final estimated time of arrival so that if a friend asks, you’ll know what to tell them. With any luck, later models will eject you out of the seat as you drive by your destination so that by the time your tiny parachute lets you alight onto the curb in style—take that, Ryan Seacrest!—your car will have already parked itself and will be able to catch up on its software updates.
What technological wonders will we see next?