Cosmo Tech co-founder, Executive Chairman, and CEO of Cosmo Tech USA Michel Morvan was recently featured in an in-depth article on the future of parking in the Communications of the ACM. Written by Jake Widman and published in the Association for Computing Machinery’s flagship journal, the article takes a long-term view about the future of private vehicle parking in cities as a wave of new technologies conspire to change the status quo.
Widman titled his article Parking Smart and opened by describing the current parking landscape in American cities:
“Finding a place to park is one of the most frustrating challenges of the Automobile Age. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are more than 128 million commuters in the United States, three-quarters of whom drive alone; add in the car-poolers, and that’s almost certainly over 100 million drivers looking for someplace to leave their cars every weekday. Add the people using their cars to go shopping, run errands, attend events, go out to dinner, and so on, and you have a lot of cars needing a place to stay on any given day, and a lot of urban infrastructure devoted to meeting that demand.”
To meet this demand, Widman explains, there have been various ‘waves’ of innovative solutions emerging from the technology sector. A ‘first wave’ of smartphone applications allowed commuters to pay for their parking with convenience and without the need to fumble for change. Following this first wave was a second wave of applications that not only allowed drivers to pay for their parking but to reserve that parking in advance, particularly for major events where the supply of spaces and demand for those spaces can be estimated with some accuracy.
Today a new wave of applications are emerging, now somewhat in the style of the ubiquitous ‘Uber for X’ or ‘airbnb for X’ solutions in other verticals. New applications are being developed, and some have even been launched in Canada, that allow for individuals to rent out their driveways as parking spaces when not in use. Much as airbnb disrupted the hotel business by opening private homes as competing accommodation options, and just as Uber disrupted city taxi services by offering private vehicles as transport alternatives, these new apps offer private parking on private land as an alternative to traditional parking lots or city-regulated street parking.
Commenting on these applications, Morvan was impressed but urged readers to think of the broader implications of these changes in vehicle use and storage.
“These apps are going to be incredibly useful when you want to park now, and useful for probably the next couple of years, but what we are looking at today is the fact that if you have autonomous cars, you’re not only going to have less parking, you will have less cars.”
Morvan explained that an autonomous vehicle is likely to be used 20 times more often than privately owned vehicles currently are. “Autonomous cars won’t need parking. They don’t need to park at your house or where you’re going,” he told Widman. “The need for parking will be close to zero, is my guess.”