Developed by Melbourne-based UbiPark, the technology was seen – on LinkedIn – by Porsche Australia’s mobility team who last week formalised a partnership that is now finalising proof of concept before being integrated into Apple CarPlay in the first quarter of next year.
UbiPark will partner with Porsche for Australia while similar systems from other developers will each be deployed in Europe and the US.
For UbiPark founder and CEO Mosstyn Howell, the relationship being forged with Porsche “is a real feather in our cap” and vindicates the vision to provide state-of-the-art parking services. It also opens the door to other parking and docking applications, including for the trucking industry.
He said that the Porsche app is a new connected car experience that offers motorists seamless live-parking information, real-time navigation and a contactless solution for car park access and payment at select locations.
“It enables them to locate and navigate to available parking spots at select locations with one easy-to-use mobile app,” he said.
“This will allow motorists to make more informed mobility choices.”
Porsche Cars Australia product manager of new technologies Matthias Prilipp said Porsche aimed to simplify life through smart mobility technologies and services.
“This means drivers use their time in the car more efficiently and arrive more quickly at their destination,” he said.
“To achieve this, we need to better connect owners with key infrastructure information, such as parking availability and pricing.
“The future of mobility will be increasingly connected. This new partnership with UbiPark will enable us to explore further innovations that will greatly enhance the Porsche owner experience.”
Mr Howell told GoAutoNews Premium that the plan was to first have the app in the Porsche owner’s smartphone, with the next stage to integrate it into CarPlay – which is expected to happen with the first quarter of next year – and finally become embedded within the Porsche infotainment system.
“We have been working with Porsche since May 2018 when its mobility team reached out to us via LinkedIn, of all places, and then we progressed from there,” he said.
“We have had approval for about seven months. We then worked through the legalities with the Porsche head office in Germany and then the partnership was announced last week.”
Mr Howell said the development of equivalent technology for the US and European countries had a similar timeline to Australia with Germany already in place and others coming on stream.
He said the UbiPark technology was more difficult to apply in overseas markets – not because of the technology but because of the regional differences in parking systems.
“What works here compared with, say, Germany and the US, is very different … because of numerous factors including parking locations, payments, and so on,” he said.
“The technology itself is capable of working around the world but the relationship with parking businesses is so different that it will void the practical use of the app.”
Nonetheless Mr Howell said that aside from the relationship with Porsche, UbiPark technology was spreading to other markets targeting different applications.
“We are at the start of our international expansion. We are already in New Zealand and we are entering the US,” he said.
“We have developed SNAP – search, navigate, access and pay – for parking but the trick is for this application to work through smartphones or CarPlay.
“The technology can be used to open the front door, to controlling freight and dock management and last-mile logistics. We see the technology fitting into EV and mobility-as-a-service environments and even property.
“We’ve stuck at the moment with commercial parking and the associated businesses.
“The parking industry is a $700 billion industry so we have the vision to provide services to the bigger parking and mobility ecosystem.”
Mr Howell said UbiPark employs 13 people but the business is growing so it is hiring more staff.
He said that much of the current demand was driven by the pandemic that has affected parking logistics.
“We have a ‘zero-contact’ parking product but the big demand is around sharing parking spaces,” he said.
“Corporates coming back into the office means we can provide solutions that allow them to automatically share those parking spaces to suit return-to-work plans.
“So because of the pandemic, we have grown considerably over the past few months.”
By Neil Dowling