Bosch is a supplier for a number of automakers, so its systems could work together across makes to contribute to a common goal. That's the idea behind its community-based parking system, which is one of the many systems it's discussing at this year's .
The premise is pretty simple, but it could have a big impact. As cars drive down a street, they can scan for open parking spaces alongside. If spots are detected, they are mapped and stored in the cloud. When it comes time to find a parking space, the system can call up that map and direct you to an open space.
With a fast-enough internet connection, it could provide nearly real-time updates on parking spaces, so if some jerk jacks your spot when you're on your way there, it could divert you to another open space before you realize your parking hopes and dreams have been permanently crushed.
This could have huge benefits. Not only would it save the driver time, it would save gas and, therefore, money. Bosch estimates that by 2025 connected parking systems could reduce parking traffic by 380 million kilometers, which is equivalent to driving to Venus and back (not advisable).
Of course, this presupposes that Bosch's system makes its way into a bunch of vehicles. It'll be significantly less capable if it's not in as many cars as possible. While it can definitely migrate to many different brands, given Bosch's ubiquity in the auto-industry supplier field, it would require the automakers to sign off on the idea. It would also require the citizenry to pony up the scratch to pay for the equipment.
Bosch believes that won't be a problem, though. The spot-searching portion utilizes ultrasonic sensors, which are already optional on a wide variety of vehicles, and they've already proven their usefulness with the current slew of self-parking systems. Most of the work is done on Bosch's end, and the required infrastructure already exists. When it comes to the consumer's cost, this is a convenience service, and thus Bosch believes people will be willing to pay to save some time.
Whether or not automakers go through with it, and whether or not consumers will jump at the idea, Bosch is taking steps to ensure this system works in the real world. It's already testing the system in Stuttgart, Germany, with the help of Mercedes-Benz. The system is slated to land stateside for testing in 2017.
Update, 10:34 a.m. PT: Added information regarding cost and complexity of the system.