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Looking for a Parking Space?

A Saturday morning in Dresden. The coffee is steaming, fresh bread rolls and the newspaper are on the table – you’re about to head off to town. But where are you going to park your car? Are there any traffic holdups on the way into town? Or is it better to take the tram?

New navigation app for Dresden: (from left) Thomas Krause (Board of Management, Wolfsburg AG), Lars Dittert (Head of Gläserne Manufaktur Dresden), Prof. Dr. Reinhard Koettnitz (head of office of road works and civil engineering of the city of Dresden) and Marco Weiß (head of sales, Gläserne Manufaktur Dresden) unveiled the app at Gläserne Manufaktur on May 15, 2017

These are just some of the questions that the UMA-Navigation smart phone app can answer. Originally developed for Wolfsburg, the app is now also available for Dresden. It navigates you intelligently through road traffic in Dresden, simultaneously providing information on parking availability. What makes it so special is that it is fed with data exclusively provided by VAMOS, Dresden’s central traffic control unit.

Working in conjunction with the city, Volkswagen Sachsen has customized this app specifically for Dresden. In particular, it displays 7,800 spaces at 32 parking stations and parking lots, any one of which the user can select as a destination. Depending on availability, the app also shows alternative parking.

Yet, this is only the beginning: Over the next few weeks, software updates will be adding new functions such as the location of charging stations for electric vehicles and corresponding erouting. This will then navigate the electric car straight to the next charging station. Given that the e-Golf is assembled in Dresden, this promises to be a real boon. In addition, the UMA carpooling app will make it easier to organize shared rides.

Thomas Krause (Board of Management, Wolfsburg AG) explaining how the app works

As it is, the navigation system offers an additional benefit: it identifies all UMA users along a given route, preemptively compares their location with the capacity of the transport infrastructure available along the route and intelligently distributes them across suitable alternative routes. This helps to alleviate traffic congestion.

The technical underpinnings are provided by an algorithm that is used by UMA to consolidate all available digital information in order to offer users the best possible route. Specifically, this means that UMA-Navigation checks the current traffic situation several times a minute and adds historical traffic data to recommend the ideal route. However, what really sets the app apart is its intelligent swarm-based algorithm, which synchronizes the routes of different users.  In this connection, it is important to know that personal data is not collected.

The app was developed by Wolfsburg AG as part of the Urban Mobility Assistance (UMA) project, which combines intelligent mobility solutions. And Dresden is now showing what a “smart city” can look like. The app is available free of charge for Android and Apple phones.

At the end of 2016, Volkswagen Sachsen and the City of Dresden signed a far-reaching partnership contract, under which Dresden is to act as a model city for electromobility, digitalization and innovative fleet management. Specifically, the contract provides for the vehicle-charging infrastructure to be expanded, the full conversion of the city’s fleet to e-vehicles, innovative car-sharing projects and the establishment of a start-up incubator for mobility services.

Currently, 35 e-Golfs are being assembled each working day at Gläserne Manufaktur, which was expanded between March 2016 and April 2017 at a cost of EUR 20 million. The assembly lines were made more flexible and, looking forward, will be able to produce additional modules as well.