Limited-access highways, which offer high-speed roadway without much interaction with adjoining property or areas, are considered a great proving ground for autonomous vehicles, allowing them to travel quickly while minimizing the potential for accidents. Today, Forbes wonders if a similar concept would be prudent for parking lots, which may present more dangers for AVs than roads.

“For autonomy, parking lots are a very difficult environment because of the complexity of participants and the irregular travel patterns. Parking lots have dynamic actors such as pedestrians, shopping carts, children, trucks, and oh yes automobiles,” writes the site.

The article suggests a valet-style model for AV-friendly parking lots, offering (verbatim):

  1. Dropoff: Customers would enter the curb-side for dropoff and direct their car to self-park with an approximate expectation of pickup.
  2. Routing: Automobiles would enter a limited access parking lot (physically isolated) and be directed by the local Parking Lot Electronic Manager(PLEM) to an appropriate spot with a route.
  3. Packing: From time-to-time, PLEM would ask the car to move in order to allow other cars to pick up curbside.
  4. Pickup: Finally, upon summon or based on approximate scheduling, the automobile would make its way to the curbside pickup.

It also suggests splitting parking lot capacity into managed and conventional areas.

Read the whole story here and let us know in the comments: What do parking professionals think?