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The World's First Level-4 Automated Parking Feature Developed by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch is Approved for Commercial Use

The World's First Level-4 Automated Parking Feature Developed by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch is Approved for Commercial Use

Author: FutureCar Staff    

Automaker Mercedes-Benz received approval for its advanced automated parking technology co-developed with Bosch from Germany's Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). The SAE Level-4 automated parking technology is approved for use at a parking garage at Stuttgart Airport. 

It's the world's first SAE Level-4 self-parking function to be approved for commercial use. 

The automated parking feature works on the newer Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS models equipped with the automaker' feature. Drivers can activate the service via the "Mercedes me" vehicle companion app.

Although many automakers are working on self-driving vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems for highways, automated parking technology remains a desirable feature for drivers, as finding an open spot and parking in tight spaces can be stressful, especially in urban areas. 

How It Works

The L4 Automated Valet Parking service does not require the driver to be in the vehicle. Instead, a driver can simply exit the vehicle at the parking garage and use the smartphone app to initiate the automated parking process. The vehicle will then drive itself into the parking structure and park in an assigned space. Once the vehicle is ready for retrieval, its autonomously drives to the pickup spot where the driver exited.

After all occupants have exited the vehicle, the app initiates the parking maneuver. But first, the parking system checks whether the route to the parking space is clear, and that all the other technical requirements have been satisfied. If all of the conditions are met, the driver receives a notification in the app confirming that the intelligent infrastructure has taken control of the vehicle and they are free to leave.

When the driver returns to pick up the vehicle from the parking garage, they can summon it using the smartphone app and wait at the predetermined pick-up spot for their car to arrive.

The technology behind the feature relies on intelligent infrastructure supplied by Bosch that's installed in the parking garage, as well as Mercedes-Benz's  technology installed on the vehicle.

Bosch installed sensors in the parking garage to monitor the driving lanes and its surroundings. It provides the required information to the vehicle's sensors. The technology in the vehicle converts the parking garage information from the Bosch sensors into driving maneuvers. The vehicles can even drive autonomously up and down ramps to move between different levels in the parking garage. 

If one of Bosch's infrastructure sensors detect an obstacle, the brakes are automatically applied and the vehicle comes to a complete stop. Only once the route is clear, the parking process resumes.

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Once the valet parking service is fully operation, drivers can simply leave ther vehicles at a designated spot in the parking garage.

The project between Mercedes-Benz and Bosch began in 2019 when Mercedes-Benz obtained the world's first permit to operate its Automated Valet Parking parking technology at the parking garage of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. The initial tests used modified development vehicles that required no human oversight.

Mercedes-Benz and Bosch plan to gradually roll out the driverless parking service at the parking garage at Stuttgart Airport. Once the feature is available to drivers of S-Class and EQS vehicles built after July 2022, owners will be able to book a parking space in advance, using the Mercedes me app. Once they arrive at the garage, they can leave their vehicle in a predetermined drop-off area at the airport garage where the valet parking process will start from.

In addition to Level-4 automated valet parking, Mercedes Benz is also working on advanced autonomous driving technology for the road. In January, the automaker became the first automotive company in the world to meet the demanding legal requirements of UN-R157 for its "DRIVE PILOT" Level 3 autonomous driving system that can operate without requiring a driver to pay attention to the road.

The highly automated system allows the driver to focus on other activities, like reading a book or watching a movie, while the system is active in heavy traffic or on congested highways.. Once in Drive Pilot mode, applications such as movie streaming or games, can be enabled on the vehicle's integrated central display that are otherwise blocked while driving.

The approval allows Mercedes-Benz to offer DRIVE PILOT to S-Class customers in Germany along with the INTELLIGENT PARK PILOT feature.

FutureCar Staff
FutureCar Staff
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