Driverless in the parking lot. Automated Valet Parking

July 23, 2019 - Parking by yourself is so yesterday – this is the promise of a joint pilot project of Mercedes-Benz and Bosch in Stuttgart. In close cooperation with one another, the two companies have developed an innovative parking service: the so-called "Automated Valet Parking".

Intelligent interaction via smartphone application.

And this is how the automated parking service works: Having arrived at a parking garage, you leave your vehicle in a "Drop-off Area". One click in a corresponding smartphone app and the car moves off without any further human intervention into the parking garage and maneuvers into a free space. And it's exactly the same the other way around. Shortly before you want to leave, you order the vehicle via the app. Detected by the intelligent system of the parking garage, the car starts and drives autonomously to a "Pick-up Area". Simply get in and drive off – even parking the car in narrow parking garages in particular loses its fear factor.

Milestone towards autonomous driving

At the same time, the automated parking service is an important milestone on the way to autonomous driving. The pilot solution in the parking garage of the Mercedes-Benz Museum is the world's first infrastructure-assisted solution for an automated drive up and park service as a genuine mixed operation.

We are getting close to autonomous driving faster than many suspect. Driverless parking at the Mercedes-Benz Museum impressively shows how far the technology has already come.

Michael Hafner, Head of Automated Driving and Active Safety from Mercedes-Benz Cars Development

Driverless parking is becoming possible with the help of intelligent parking garage infrastructure from Bosch in conjunction with the vehicle technology of Mercedes-Benz. In this system, sensors in the parking garage monitor the driving corridor and its surroundings and steer the vehicle. The technology in the car reliably converts the commands from the parking garage infrastructure into driving maneuvers and stops the vehicle in good time if necessary.

Through the use of intelligent parking garage infrastructure and its networking with vehicles, we have succeeded in achieving driverless parking much earlier than planned.

Gerhard Steiger, Chairman of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control Business Unit

In this way, Bosch and Mercedes-Benz are gathering experience on how the users deal with the Automated Valet Parking system. Existing parking garages can be retrofitted with the infrastructure technology. For the parking garage operator, driverless parking results in more efficient use of the parking space available: Up to 20 percent more vehicles fit into the same area.

The world's first operating permit for driverless parking

The two companies have now obtained approval from the relevant authorities in Baden-Württemberg for their automated parking system in the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage in Stuttgart. The automated valet parking service is accessed via a smartphone app and requires no safety driver. This makes it the world’s first fully automated driverless SAE Level 4¹ parking function to be officially approved for everyday use.

¹SAE Level 4: Driverless driving in a geographically discrete area, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in its recommended practice J 3016.

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