Mercedes Benz, Bosch to Launch Automated Valet Parking System
Semi-autonomous technology brings a lot of nifty features with it. While the majority of consumers will undoubtedly enjoy being able to get some light reading done or a quick nap on the way to work, there are a bunch of other features that autonomous vehicles will bring. One of those includes automated parking.
Automated Parking Coming To Stuttgart
Parking, especially, when you're tirelessly looking for a spot in a multi-story garage, can be a chore. Automated parking, which is something a few companies, like Ford and Hyundai, are already working on, are just in the early stages of testing. Well, that is if you're everyone besides Mercedes-Benz and Bosch.
The two companies recently announced that they have introduced the "world's first highly automated driverless SAE Level 4 parking function" to receive official approval for commercial use. The German automaker announced that parking-garage operator Apcoa will be the first to deploy its automated valet parking system. The system will be put in place at the Stuttgart Airport's P6 parking garage.
In order to work, there will be a specific drop-off and pick-up area, which is located directly behind the entrance to the P6 parking garage. As owners leave their vehicles to head toward the airport, the car will park itself in the basement. It's not entirely on its own, as Mercedes claims the vehicle will be guided by the information it's receiving from the infrastructure.
"Automated valet parking really enhances our passenger's comfort and convenience and saves them time, especially when they're in a hurry and just want to drop their car off quickly at the airport," says Walter Schoefer, management spokesman for Flughafen Stuttgart GmbH.
How The System Works
The system works thanks to Bosch's video cameras that are used to identify empty parking spaces, detect obstacles, and monitor the driving aisle. The parking garage has a dedicated control center that calculates the best route for the vehicles to take to get to the empty spot. While the spots are in the basement, the cameras provide the vehicles with so much information that the autonomous vehicles can drive around the parking garage on their own and move between different stories. Using cameras for this is a new thing, as Mercedes claims that LiDAR sensors were previously used.
"Our intelligent parking garage infrastructure forms the basis for the future of driverless parking," said Hartung.
Once the vehicle is parked, it stays there until the driver returns to the parking structure and prompts the vehicle to return to the designated spot. The more mundane things, like ticketing and payment are all automated.
While Bosch's cameras are one part of the equation, the other is the vehicle. In that regard, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is available with an available "pre-installation" for what the company calls Intelligent Park Pilot. Getting the package equips the new S-Class with a smartphone command to drive itself to a parking space.
The companies are working together to get the pilot program underway. There's no specific timeline for when the program will go live, but the automaker claims that two spaces will be available for the automated valet parking system. More spaces will be introduced depending on demand
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