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Self-parking cars - another step towards autonomy on the streets


Self-parking cars - another step towards autonomy on the streets

Ian Kerr

Self-driving valet parking is now a reality. It’s another step towards autonomous vehicles, but in a safe environment.

The new automated parking system in the Mercedes-Benz Museum multi-level car park in Stuttgart is the world’s first fully automated driverless SAE Level 4 parking function to be officially approved for everyday use.

The automated valet parking service is accessed via a smartphone app and requires no safety driver.

On the face of it, this development might not seem like a big deal. And while the automated valet system is assisted by a system of in-garage sensors that wouldn’t exist in the outside world, it is a step towards a level of autonomy that will help in the delivery sector.

One of the recurring problems with urban parcel delivery is access to loading zones or parking spots. If an autonomous vehicle can park and retrieve itself while the courier effects deliveries, then this will save time per drop.

And of course if it can’t find a parking spot then it can circle the block! Ok, that’s not ideal, but what’s worse: circling the block or double-parking and blocking a lane of traffic?

“Driverless driving and parking are important building blocks for tomorrow’s mobility.” - Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH.

How it works

Drive in to the parking garage, get out, and send the car to a parking space just by tapping on a smartphone screen – automated valet parking has no need for a driver. Once the driver has left the parking garage to go about their business, the car drives itself to an assigned space and parks. Later, the car returns to the drop-off point in exactly the same way.

The car interacts with the intelligent parking garage infrastructure. Sensors in the parking garage monitor the driving corridor and its surroundings and provide the information needed to guide the vehicle. The technology in the car converts the commands from the infrastructure into driving manoeuvres.

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