SpotHero introduces 500+ autonomous vehicle-ready parking facilities in Chicago
Today, we’re announcing that more than 500 connected parking facilities on the SpotHero platform are ready for autonomous vehicles in our hometown of Chicago. These garages, lots and other facilities are outfitted with license plate recognition, IoT sensor technologies, and other forms of license plate redemption that will allow vehicles to book, pay, enter and exit seamlessly. We’re proud to include these AV-ready facilities as part of North America’s largest parking marketplace – with more than 5,000 facilities in 50+ major metro areas, and more than a million parking spaces booked every month.
“SpotHero is prepared for autonomous vehicles to arrive on city streets — and in parking facilities,” said Mark Lawrence, CEO and co-founder of SpotHero. “Through our deep relationships with parking operators, more than 500 existing parking facilities are now equipped with the technology for autonomous vehicles to seamlessly reserve, enter, exit and pay. By pairing existing physical infrastructure of parking facilities with our digital infrastructure, these AV-ready garages offer a real-world glimpse of what the parking future looks like for urban mobility.”
Bridging the gap between driver and driverless
With multi-modal transportation becoming the new standard, we believe parking plays an even more foundational role in the future of mobility – whether vehicles are driven by people or driverless. That’s why we are committed to working with our partners and operators to “future proof” parking facilities with technology that will both improve the driver experience today and support the driverless revolution tomorrow.
These 500 AV-ready parking facilities are already providing a seamless experience to drivers today. Technology-driven transactions are powered by SpotHero’s HeroConnect platform, a parking API and SDK that functions as the connective tissue allowing drivers, vehicles, garages, car manufacturers, and cities to communicate and exchange data and payments. It’s the same technology that will empower autonomous vehicles to find and book a parking space, pay, and enter and exit the facility seamlessly.
“Significant strides in both vehicle and parking technologies are creating major opportunities for parking facilities like ours to enhance drivers’ parking experiences,” said Jeff Eckerling, Senior Vice President of Revenue and Growth at SP+, a leading national provider of parking, ground transportation and related services. “SP+ is collaborating with SpotHero to supplement our online selling efforts to accelerate the growth of our customer base today and to cultivate customer loyalty at our facilities well into the future. Drivers want to have a seamless parking experience — from reservation, to payment, to entering and exiting the facility. Whether drivers are parking their cars today or autonomous vehicles take the wheel tomorrow, our collaboration with SpotHero contributes to driving real business and preparing for change.”
A lot has changed since we launched SpotHero in 2011. Shifting demographics spurred a resurgence of city living, and unprecedented smartphone connectivity has transformed people’s expectations of everyday experiences with seamless transactions. At the same time, urban mobility has undergone a transformation of its own.
In cities around the United States, an unfettered explosion of ridesharing in recent years has led to more congestion and traffic, not less as promised. In New York City, for example, there’s been a 59% increase in ride-for-hire vehicles on city streets, slowing average speeds during business hours to just six miles per hour – a 15% decrease since 2010. (Coincidentally, 37% of rideshare users cite not wanting to look for parking as the #1 reason they hail a ride.) What’s worse is that as many as half of these vehicles are “dead heading” – driving around empty while waiting for passengers. The result is an increase in wear and tear on city streets, reduced funding for public transit, and escalating congestion.
We know that congestion is the enemy of urban mobility, but simply investing in more vehicle innovation – self-driving cars, scooters, flying taxis or otherwise – won’t reduce it. A better parking infrastructure will. It’s been estimated that a whopping 30% of urban traffic is the result of drivers looking for a place to park, demonstrating the need for parking innovation at the heart of the greater urban mobility discussion. Yet for all the hype around electric scooters and hyperloops, the parking industry is routinely pronounced dead, or overlooked altogether. It’s clear that there is a very real, and escalating, need for modern infrastructure solutions that will prepare cities for the next generation of urban mobility.
Building the digital infrastructure for autonomous vehicles
Autonomous vehicles promise to revolutionize the way we think about mobility and how we move around congested cities. Before we can truly unleash their potential en masse, we need to consider whether or not we have the right physical and digital infrastructures in place to support them. At SpotHero, we’re unapologetically optimistic about the improvements AVs will bring to the urban experience, provided they’re given a sound foundation to run on, one that takes the entire mobility ecosystem into account.
Stay tuned for updates on more AV-ready parking facilities launching across the country later this year.