It is not simply on our roads and highways where autonomous driving is making progress, the technology is also a driving force in parking, as Bosch and Daimler are demonstrating in a pilot project. Together, they are developing a car which will look for its own parking space.
In the USA, for example, in many hotels or restaurants parking is often provided with a parking attendant who will park your car for you. In future, however, the idea is that parking will happen completely automatically, without a driver, using an app on a smartphone. Recently, Bosch and Daimler demonstrated this in a pilot project on “Automated Valet Parking” in Stuttgart.
The idea is the driver turns off the car, goes out and taps on the smartphone. Then the car itself will look for a parking space. In this way, it is hoped that a handful of Mercedes E Class cars will be parked at the Mercedes-Benz Museum without a driver at the wheel, beginning in 2018. When the car is picked up again, it can be ordered back through the app. The car will then deliver itself to the “Pick-Up Station” and the driver can get in and drive away.
To achieve this, Bosch has equipped the car park with sensors. These communicate with the cars, in this case, Mercedes E Class. A computer in the parking will deliver the vehicles to empty places. An additional benefit, it is claimed, is that 20 percent more cars can be parked using the same parking area.
According to the companies, existing car parks can be retrofitted with the technology, although it is far from cheap. To equip a parking garage with smart sensors will cost operators in the order of more than 100,000 euros.
Despite the recent demonstration an actual working concept is still a long way off. Following the premiere in Stuttgart “an intensive test and commissioning phase” is still required. In addition, there will be regulatory and other issues to be ironed out before a commercial system can become a reality.