There's nothing worse than being stuck inside a busy car park, driving around in circles looking for the couple of empty parking spaces that you know are hiding somewhere. It's one of those first world problems that we all have to suffer at one time or another, and Ford is working on a system that it thinks could solve the issue once and for all.
Ford (and other partners) have been joining forces on something they call 'collaborative parking', which enables drivers to see a semi-accurate map that shows the status of parking spaces in real time. It utilises the existing parking sensors inside cars, rather than deal with the time and expense needed to install new tech in the car parks themselves, which translates data into a heat map on the car's dashboard screen.
The tech was developed UK Autodrive project, which a £20 million government-sponsored scheme designed to bring autonomous and connected car technologies away from test tracks and onto real-world streets.
It's quite an interesting way of tackling the problem, though it makes me wonder how it would work in the real world seeing as how it'd rely on multiple car manufacturers agreeing to be involved. Assuming, of course, the car park isn't full of older cars that don't have parking sensors.
We're not likely to see a rollout soon anyway, though I can imagine it will be incredibly useful as self-driving cars become more and more common. If the car can identify an empty bay by itself, you don't even need to be there after all. Just get out and let it figure things out for itself.