Your next BMW will tell you exactly where to park

Inrix traffic data and BMW ConnectedDrive system can hunt down available parking so you don't have to circulate the streets

If you were to add up the number of hours spent driving in circles looking for a parking space, it will likely produce an extremely depressing figure.

Market research analysts Frost & Sullivan recently revealed that European drivers spend over four days every year searching for spaces. That's a city break wasted on parking the car. Depressing indeed.

But there's good news, as traffic data experts Inrix, which already supplies BMW with traffic flow information for its sat-nav systems, has developed an innovative service that aims to relieve parking-related stress.

Due to appear on forthcoming BMW ConnectedDrive infotainment systems, the On-Street Parking facility vacuums up data from local parking transactions, real- time traffic probes and connected parking meters to create a colour-coded map of the area's least congested parking spots.

Drivers can overlay this information onto the sat-nav map, so it displays a red hue on busy roads that are best avoided and a neat green marker on the roads with ample on-street parking.

Alternatively, drivers can request navigation to local off-street parking facilities, as well as receive information on opening times and pricing.

Better still, Inrix On-Street Parking will also beam restriction and permit information directly to the system so you don't triumphantly find a spot only to discover you require a resident's permit.

Bryan Mistele, President and CEO at Inrix, believes this is another step towards fully autonomous vehicles and connected cities. “What good is an autonomous vehicle if it can't find a place to park after it drops you off?” he said at a recent conference.

“As we connect cars to smarter cities, Inrix On-Street Parking fills a critical gap that addresses the growing challenge of traffic and parking in cities worldwide.”

The service will initially be available in Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Cologne, and Copenhagen, with the company rolling out a further 23 cities by the end of the year.

Leon Poultney

Leon has been writing about automotive and consumer tech for longer than he cares to divulge. When he’s not testing the latest fitness wearable and action camera, he’s out in a shed fawning over his motorcycles or trying not to kill himself on a mountain bike/surfboard/other extreme thing. He's also a man who knows his tools, and he's provided much of T3's drills coverage over the years, all without injuring himself.