If you live, work or play in an urban environment, we’ll bet that “finding parking” is one of the more unpleasant tasks you face on a daily basis. While some larger lots are now providing real-time updates, searching for this info on a smartphone or tablet as you drive isn’t exactly a good idea.

In any given city, many parking lots are owned by independent operators. Getting updates from these smaller companies isn’t possible, which only adds to the challenge. As Wheels explains, that may be about to change thanks to Inrix, a company best known for providing live traffic information for OEM navigation systems.

Inrix will be partnering with ParkMe (in North America) and Parkopedia (in Europe) to deliver subscribers real-time information on some 18,000 lots in the United States and some 42,000 lots throughout Europe.

Not only will Inrix Park find nearby lots (mapped, for your convenience), it will deliver information on pricing, hours and the number of spaces still available, which is key data when you’re running late for that concert, dinner or Broadway show.

Inrix Park can’t cover every lot, but Mark Pendergrast, a senior product manager at Inrix, says that coverage could include up to 60 percent of parking facilities in locations like New York City. That may not be perfect, but it’s certainly enough to be useful.

Longer term, the goal is to include street parking as well. Someday, drivers will be able to “feed the meter” from their smartphone, too, eliminating the need to dash back out to a meter in the middle of dinner with a pocket full of quarters.

Inrix Park will first debut in Kenwood’s high-end Excelon receivers, but Inrix expects the data service to become available to Ford and Toyota owners (in vehicles with navigation and infotainment systems) by year end.

Someday, systems like Inrix Park will be combined with autonomous parking (like Audi’s Piloted Parking), meaning that drivers need only navigate to a lot with an available space before the car does the rest.