Daimler and Bosch announced today that their driverless valet parking system in Stuttgart, which will park cars independently without any safety personnel, is the first such autonomous parking function to be approved for everyday use.
Officials approved the fully automated driverless SAE Level 4 parking for daily use at the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage. Daimler is calling the development “a milestone on the way to automated driving.”
Bosch is supplying the infrastructure for the system, with Daimler supplying the in-vehicle tech. Parking the car in the garage is done via smartphone app:
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. This process relies on the interplay between the intelligent parking garage infrastructure supplied by Bosch and Mercedes-Benz automotive technology. Bosch 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 maneuvers. This way, cars can even drive themselves up and down ramps to move between stories in the parking garage. If the infrastructure sensors detect an obstacle, the vehicle stops immediately.
Daimler and Bosch have been working on driverless parking for years. They launched this particular parking system in the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage in 2017, and in 2018, visitors could use it while accompanied by trained safety personnel. Soon, any interested visitors at the museum will be able to use the system on their own, without a safety driver.
Dr. Michael Hafner, the head of drive technologies and automated driving at Daimler AG, said:
“This approval from the Baden-Württemberg authorities sets a precedent for obtaining approval in the future for the parking service in parking garages around the world. As a pioneer in automated driving, our project paves the way for automated valet parking to go into mass production in the future.”
Daimler released a number of photos from the garage:
While other companies are working on similar driverless solutions to navigate parking lots/garages in their own way, such as Tesla with Enhanced Summon, Daimler and Bosch’s solution uses sensors within the garage to make sure everything is in order.
At some point, such infrastructure won’t be necessary, as cars will all be able to interact and park themselves in parking garages without any sensors or infrastructure outside the vehicle. But this is an important step for automated driving, and it’s not hard to envision at least a near future where cars are able to interact with such sensors in parking garages.
We’ll be curious to hear how Daimler and Bosch’s system works out now that it’s entering “real world” use.
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