Together, Mercedes-Benz and Bosch have developed the first technology in the world for fully automated parking – a pilot project in Stuttgart.
Parking at the press of a button – a joint pilot project between Mercedes-Benz and Bosch takes this notion to a whole new level. Upon arriving at a parking garage, you simply park your vehicle in the designated transfer area and initiate the process using an app on your smartphone. No further human action is required; the vehicle drives into the car park and manoeuvres into a free parking space. The same goes for the reverse order. Shortly before your desired departure time, you order the vehicle through the app. It drives automatically to the transfer area, waiting for you to pick it up... ; Simply get in and drive away. With the automated parking service ("Automated Valet Parking"), common anxieties about manoeuvring narrow parking spaces are a thing of the past. Moreover, it is an important milestone on the road to autonomous driving.
The car park infrastructure was developed by Bosch, the vehicle technology by Daimler. The joint project brings both facets together. Both companies developed the innovative parking service in close collaboration and are now presenting it to the public. Starting in early 2018, anybody can test the technology at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, where appropriately equipped vehicles are made available as part of a pilot phase. Needless to say, the ultimate objective is for all Mercedes-Benz vehicles to be able to park autonomously – but that is still a little way off.
On the way to the future
"We are approaching the goal of autonomous driving faster than many expect. Driverless parking in the Mercedes-Benz Museum impressively demonstrates how far the technology has already come," says Michael Hafner, Head of Automated Driving and Active Safety at Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. The new system is the result of the comprehensive and continuous further development of the Remote Parking Pilot by Mercedes-Benz. With this, it is now already possible to conveniently manoeuvre the vehicle with a smartphone into even the most narrow garages and perpendicular parking spaces as well as also making entering and exiting the vehicle safer.
We are approaching the goal of autonomous driving faster than many expect. Driverless parking in the Mercedes-Benz Museum impressively demonstrates how far the technology has already come.
A world premiere: the newly presented infrastructure-supported solution for an automated valet parking service in real operation connects vehicles and the parking garage. The process is started using a similar technology as that used by the Daimler subsidiary car2go: the driver, who is standing at the transfer area in front of the car, uses the smartphone as a means of identification, connects with the car via the back end computer using the electronics installed in the vehicle, and starts the parking procedure.
The vehicle connects with the parking garage Wi-Fi. Using radio technology it communicates with the sensors in the building while laser scanners installed in the building monitor the vehicle’s driving route and its surroundings while also sending steering signals to the vehicle. The sensors "know" at all times where the vehicle to be parked is situated, as well as the parking space allocated to it, generating instructions for the vehicle, accordingly. The technology in the vehicle safely puts the directions from the car park infrastructure into action; it is guided into the free parking space by accelerating, steering and braking – all done virtually by remote control.
Also beneficial for car park operators
"By using intelligent car park infrastructure and its networking with vehicles it has been possible to realise driverless parking significantly sooner than planned," says Gerhard Steiger, Chairman of the Chassis Systems Control Division at Bosch. Existing car parks can be retrofitted with this technology. Not only does the customer benefit from this new technology, the car park operator does, too. In areas designated for autonomous parking, the vehicles can stand closer together, which means an increase in capacity of up to 20 percent. This way, operational efficiency can be maximized as well.
By using intelligent car park infrastructure and its networking with vehicles it has been possible to realise driverless parking significantly sooner than planned.
In principle, the close connection of the cars with the car park also makes additional scenarios possible – these still however lie in the distant future. For example, it is conceivable that, whilst parked, electric vehicles could be automatically recharged depending on the charge level of their batteries, ideally using inductive technology. In more general terms: In case the tire pressure detection system detects that the tire pressure is too low, the personnel could take care of this while the customer is away. Various other maintenance scenarios are conceivable. This way parking would become a beneficial procedure.
However, we have not reached that stage yet. Following this première there will be an intensive test phase over the next months. This will also include approval through the regulatory authorities. The goal is to start an extensive pilot phase in the Mercedes-Benz Museum at the beginning of 2018: anybody interested should then be able to try out the "Automated Valet Parking" there: parking could hardly be easier.