Interview of the month: Nadi Dezert

3 minutes of reading

Nadi Dezert, Sales and Development Director at Bouygues Energies & Services for the Ile-de-France region, talks to us about Cyber Valet Services, a smart parking service.

How did this project come about and what does the service do ?

During the Vivatech trade show in May 2017 and on the initiative of Bouygues Energies & Services, Bouygues Construction and Cisco signed a partnership agreement to create innovative solutions aimed at developing new smart building offers. The two companies focused on areas related to safety, connected buildings, and novel forms of mobility to address new, emerging uses.

Against this backdrop, Bouygues Construction, through its subsidiary Bouygues Energies & Services, joined Cyber Valet Services. Cisco had already been working on the project since early 2017 with the automobile equipment manufacturer Valeo. This smart parking service uses guiding technology to direct vehicles to empty parking spaces. Drivers can drop their car off at a drop zone, then use their smartphone to park their vehicle in an available space. Cars are returned to the drop zone via the driver’s smartphone as well.

The solution uses the complementary skill sets of each of the three stakeholders to great effect. Valeo is upgrading its Park4U® solution by allowing drivers to park remotely, Bouygues Energies & Services is designing and installing the IT infrastructure that will allow the vehicles to be guided and identified in the parking garage (video feed, Wi-Fi network, and IT equipment), and Cisco is designing the IT system (calibrating the connection and digital capture infrastructure and implementing the application created with Valeo).

Have you thought about how this service will be used ?

The service is currently being developed using a demo at Challenger, the headquarters of Bouygues Construction. Imagine an employee arrives at the site with her vehicle for a meeting. In order to optimise her time, she drops off her car at a special temporary area and enters in her parking preferences using her smartphone (duration, planned pick-up time, etc.). The guiding system then parks the vehicle. When the user is ready to pick her car back up, the vehicle follows the same path in reverse, starting from the parking space and ending at the drop zone. The goal is to make users’ day-to-day experience simpler by removing the difficulties caused by looking for a parking space—an activity that takes valuable time away from a busy day.
There are many other potential applications as well. Parking optimisation is an especially thorny problem for fleet managers and rental companies. Parking and retrieving cars costs money and impedes productivity.

Can this service be paired with autonomous vehicles ?

Both the parking service and the system that governs an autonomous vehicle are capable of moving a car without a driver, but they use completely different types of technology. Vehicle guiding relies in large part on an IT system and smart infrastructure, i.e. features that are external to the vehicle. In the case of an autonomous vehicle, the car features an onboard system of laser sensors, radar equipment, and cameras, and all of this information is processed via an artificial intelligence programme.

Autonomous cars will revolutionise mobility, but their place in the vehicle fleet will remain small for far into the future. Before autonomous cars become available on the mass market, we’ll have many years to improve the driving experience. We would like to use our approach to “improve the comfort potential” of mass-produced vehicles by 2020.

What is the current status of the initiative and what will it look like in the future ?

The demo at Challenger will be operational by the end of the first half of 2018. The industrialisation phase will take place during the second half of the year in partnership with Cisco and Valeo, and the offer will be available to the public in 2019.
This project addresses the needs of regions dealing with heavy traffic in town centre areas. In addition to reducing traffic downtown, alternative solutions like Cyber Valet can reduce the time spent driving around looking for a parking space and can be incorporated into commuter parking garages located at the outskirts of major metropolitan areas. The solution will help increase the value of buildings and neighbourhood development projects.