Volkswagen approaches autonomous parking, testing the technology in a parking garage in Hamburg, Germany.
Last year Bosch and Daimler already presented their joint valet-parking concept at the IAA which was implemented inside the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Recently Bosch presented eGo, a similar concept developed at the RWTH Aachen Campus. Now Volkswagen also hopped the trend testing an autonomous valet-service in Hamburg.
Parking today: time- and money consuming
Looking for a parking spot not only costs nerves, but also time and money. According to an INRIX study searching for parking is one of the major hidden costs of driving, devouring more than 3,000$ per driver in the US in 2017. This implies fuel costs that occur for finding a parking space. In New York, a driver yearly spends 107 hours looking for a space on average. A possible solution would be interlinking vehicles and parking spaces in order to save drivers‘ time and money.
Parking in the future
The valet-service concept is based on these goals. Autonomous cars are able to communicate with free parking spaces and can park much closer to each other, because there is no human exiting the car. The search for a spot still may take time, but the driver doesn’t have to care at all, as he exited the car before it entered the parking garage. Watching the cars do their thing won’t be possible anyway – humans won’t have the permission to enter the autonomous parking garages.
VW plans to test autonomous valet parking for the next two years. First the parking garage in Hamburg has been mapped and equipped with signs that guide the autonomous vehicle. The innovative parking lot will work for autonomous car models by VW, Audi and Porsche. Drivers can exit their cars at the entrace gate and initiate the search for a parking space with only one swish on their smartphone. Future plans include mixed traffic, meaning manually controlled vehicles and autonomous vehicles looking for a space in the same parking lot.
Road to ITS 2021: Autonomous trucks and more
Hamburg and VW are conducting a strategic partnership, so there are more projects in the pipeline until 2021, when the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress (ITS) takes place in the city. Soon there will also be autonomous trucks running around the port of Hamburg. VW wants to use the trucks of its subsidiaries MAN and Scania to foster the development of autonomous driving. Nissan and Renault are taking a similar road to push autonomous driving technology development.
About the author:
David Fluhr is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site: http://www.autonomes-fahren.de