A major milestone has been reached by Bosch and Daimler as the two companies have obtained approval for the world’s first fully automated driverless (SAE Level 4)¹ parking function to be officially permitted for everyday use.
In order to save time and ensure safety, the system allows drivers request their cars to go park themselves just by tapping an app on their smartphones. Once the driver has left the parking garage to go about their business, the car drives itself to an assigned space and parks. When it’s time to leave, the car returns to the drop-off point in exactly the same way. This driverless parking is called Automated Valet Parking (AVP).
The success of the project dates back to 2015 when Bosch and Daimler started developing the fully automated driverless parking. In 2017, a real demonstration was presented to the public for the first time at the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage in Stuttgart. Starting in 2018, museum visitors could use the parking service live and share their experience while being accompanied by trained safety personnel. The project has now been approved by relevant authorities in Baden-Württemberg.
“This decision by the authorities shows that innovations like automated valet parking are possible in Germany first,” says Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. “Driverless driving and parking are important building blocks for tomorrow’s mobility. The automated parking system shows just how far we have already progressed along this development path.”
“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,” says Dr. Michael Hafner, the head of drive technologies and automated driving at Daimler AG. “As a pioneer in automated driving, our project paves the way for automated valet parking to go into mass production in the future.”
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.
As a safety feature, turquoise lighting stays illuminated to notify passers-by and other road users that the vehicle is driving itself.
Soon, interested parties will be able to experience the innovative valet parking service live in daily operation in the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage in Stuttgart without additional supervision from a safety driver.