Friday, 16 October 2020 10:59

Three German firms working on driverless, automated parking at airport

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The interior of one of the S-Class cars being used in the trial. The interior of one of the S-Class cars being used in the trial. Supplied

Three German companies are working together to implement the world's first commercial automated valet parking service, using which a smartphone command will be enough to tell cars where to park in Stuttgart Airport's P6 car park.

Engineering and technology firm Bosch is working on the camera-based infrastructure to detect lanes and obstacles, while Mercedes-Benz has developed the technology that will make driverless, fully automated parking possible. The technology is being tested in its S-Class models.

The third company in the picture is car park operator Apcoa which is testing barrier and payment functions using its APCOA FLOW digital mobility platform.

Asked when the green light might be given for the system to begin, a Bosch spokesperson did not provide a likely date, but told iTWire: "An AVP test operation of S-class vehicles with safety drivers is currently running in the airport parking garage.

"The aim is to test the interaction of S-Class vehicle technology with the intelligent infrastructure from Bosch and the digital 'Flow' platform from Apcoa, and to prepare the launch of a driverless series pilot operation with customer vehicles.

car driverless

A Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicle without a driver negotiates a turn on the way to parking itself. Supplied

"Together with the authorities, Bosch and Mercedes-Benz are working on a solution for the approval of such driverless AVP operation with customer vehicles."

Regarding the sharing of the technology developed by Mercedes-Benz with other car makers, the spokesperson said: "Principally AVP only works as a cross-OEM approach with standardised interfaces.

"From a technical point of view, any AVP-enabled vehicle from different manufacturers can use AVP in any appropriately equipped parking garage (provided such AVP operation is permitted nationally).

"Recently, for example, Bosch announced a pilot project with Ford on infrastructure-based AVP. Mercedes-Benz and Bosch are already committed to interface standardisation. Vehicle-centred and infrastructure-based technologies can exist in parallel in the future."

driver driverless

A smartphone command will be all that's needed in future to park a car at Stuttgart Airport. Supplied

Bosch said in a statement as an option, customers could buy the appropriate pre-installation for what the company calls the INTELLIGENT PARK PILOT, which makes the S-Class capable of receiving a smartphone command to drive itself to a reserved parking space.

"With the new S-Class, it's not just driving that's a luxury, but parking as well," said Dr Michael Hafner, head of automated driving at Mercedes-Benz.

"The P6 parking garage at Stuttgart airport will serve as the pilot for the planned commercial automated parking service. Here, the companies will test how the vehicle technology onboard the S-Class interacts with the intelligent Bosch infrastructure and APCOA FLOW, the digital platform provided by the parking garage operator Apcoa.

"This platform makes the whole parking process ticketless and cashless."

"Apcoa, Bosch, Mercedes-Benz, and Stuttgart Airport want to work together to make parking fully automatic," said Christoph Hartung, member of the executive management of Connected Mobility Solutions at Bosch.


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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