If approved, the system could go active next year.
We know BMW coined the phrase the ultimate driving machine, but for quite some time now German cars in general have been heralded by many as the machines of choice for people who enjoy driving. Does anyone else find it ironic that Germany seems to be taking the biggest steps as of late to remove drivers from the equation?
Mercedes-Benz is latest manufacturer to step into the autonomous world. The company has launched an automated parking service at its multi-story parking garage used for visitors to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, allowing passengers to leave the car completely as it finds its parking spot. In this instance, however, it’s not just about the car, but the building as well. Working with Bosch, the manufacturer has turned the car park into an “intelligent” structure.
"Parking will be an automated process in the future,” said Gerhard Steiger, director of the chassis systems control unit at Bosch. “By applying an intelligent multi-story car park infrastructure and networking it with vehicles, we have managed to realize driverless parking substantially earlier than planned."
In short, sensors installed throughout the car park monitor the area and the car, and actually help guide the car to its assigned parking spot. The vehicle’s on-board autonomous systems further aid in the process while ensuring the car “performs safe driving maneuvers” en route to and from its parking area. As you would expect, it will all be controlled via smartphone app.
With the launch of the automated parking system, it will first undergo an extensive trial and commissioning phase with select cars at the park, all under the close eye of local authorities. Should everything get a final approval for a 2018 launch, it will be the first such driverless parking system in the world.
With Audi’s recent autonomous A7 concept program shuffling people down the autobahn, automakers are definitely pushing forward with fervor into the self-driving realm. The question on many peoples’ minds is whether or not the world is ready for such things. It looks like we’re going to find out one way or another very soon.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz Automated Valet System
Bosch and Daimler demonstrate driverless parking in real-life traffic: World premiere in the multi-storey car park of the Mercedes Benz Museum
- Launch of automated parking service via smartphone at the multi-storey car park of the Mercedes-Benz Museum
- Bosch supplying infrastructure, vehicle technology from Daimler
- Driverless parking saves time and soothes nerves
Stuttgart – Leave your vehicle to park itself. Daimler and Bosch have teamed up to realise driverless parking (Automated Valet Parking) in the multi-storey car park at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Cars now proceed without a driver to their assigned parking space in response to a command issued by smartphone, without any need for the driver to supervise the manoeuvre. Automated valet parking marks an important milestone on the way to autonomous driving. The pilot solution at the multi-storey car park of the Mercedes-Benz Museum represents the world's first infrastructure-supported solution for an automated drive-up and parking service in real-life dual operating mode. From the beginning of 2018, visitors to the museum's multi-storey car park will be able to experience the convenient service at first hand and avoid spending time parking their cars.
"We are approaching autonomous driving faster than many people suspect. The driverless parking solution at the Mercedes-Benz Museum demonstrates in impressive fashion just how far the technology has come," said Dr Michael Hafner, Head of Automated Driving and Active Safety at Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. "Parking will be an automated process in the future. By applying an intelligent multi-storey car park infrastructure and networking it with vehicles, we have managed to realise driverless parking substantially earlier than planned," said Gerhard Steiger, Director of the Chassis Systems Control unit at Bosch.
As if by magic: to the parking space and back - fully automatically
Anyone can reserve a car using a smartphone app. The vehicle rolls into the pick-up area autonomously to start the journey. The return procedure is equally convenient: the customer parks the vehicle in the car park's drop-off area and hands it back by smartphone app. After being registered by the intelligent system installed at the multi-storey car park, the car is started and guided to an assigned parking space.
Driverless parking is made possible by an intelligent multi-storey car park infrastructure from Bosch in conjunction with the vehicle technology from Mercedes-Benz. Sensors installed in the car park monitor the driving corridor and its surroundings and steer the vehicle. The technology on board the car performs safe driving manoeuvres in response to the commands from the car park infrastructure and stops the vehicle in good time when necessary. The sensors for the multi-storey car park infrastructure and the communications technology come from Bosch. Daimler is providing the private museum car park and pilot vehicles, defining the interface between infrastructure and vehicle together with Bosch and adapting the sensor technology and software in the vehicles accordingly.
First operating licence worldwide for driverless parking
The premiere on 24 July 2017 is to be followed by an extensive trial and commissioning phase. The project has been overseen from the outset by local authorities – Stuttgart regional council and the federal state transport ministry – and by appraisers from the TÜV Rheinland technical inspection authority with the aim of assessing the safe operation of the vehicle and car park technology. Before the driverless customer service goes into operation at the beginning of 2018 – as the first such application worldwide – final approval will be required from the licensing authority.
Everything will then be in place to enable automated valet parking to be made available to everyone at the Mercedes-Benz Museum's multi-storey car park from the beginning of 2018. Bosch and Mercedes-Benz intend to use this project to acquire experience regarding users' handling of automated valet parking. Other existing multi-storey car parks can be retrofitted with the infrastructure technology. For the operators of multi-storey car parks, driverless parking means more efficient use of the available parking space: up to 20 percent more vehicles fit into the same space.