Mercedes-Benz/Bosch Automated Parking Gains Commercial Approval

An automated valet parking system developed jointly by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch has been approved for deployment in a major European airport.

Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has approved the highly automated parking system for use in the P6 parking garage run by APCOA at Stuttgart Airport. This makes it the world’s first highly automated driverless parking function to SAE Level 4 to be officially approved for commercial use.

Now, with the vehicle and airport infrastructure taking over driving and maneuvering, drivers will be able drop off the car and head off to catch their flight. A driver can simply turn up at the parking garage, get out and send the vehicle to a parking space just by tapping in a smartphone app because the Automated Valet Parking service has no need for a driver. The vehicle drives itself to its assigned space and parks. Later, the vehicle returns to the pick-up point in exactly the same way.

This process relies on the interplay between the intelligent infrastructure supplied by Bosch and installed in the parking garage 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 vehicle converts the information it receives from the infrastructure into driving maneuvers. In this way, vehicles can even drive themselves up and down ramps to move between levels in the parking garage. If the infrastructure sensors detect an obstacle, the vehicle brakes and safely comes to a complete stop. Only once the route is clear does it continue on its way.

Markus Schäfer, member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz Group and chief technology officer responsible for development and procurement, said: “The world’s first approval for customer use of our highly automated and driverless parking function, developed together with our technology partner Bosch, shows that innovation leadership and ‘Made in Germany’ go hand in hand. Following the market launch of our Drive Pilot Level 3 system, we will soon be offering a Level 4 system for parking with our Intelligent Park Pilot, all of that this year.”

Dr Markus Heyn, member of the Bosch board of management and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector, added: “Driverless parking is a key aspect of automated mobility. The highly automated parking system we developed together with our partner Mercedes-Benz shows just how far we’ve already progressed along this development path. It will be with driverless parking that everyday automated driving will start. In the future, our aim is to equip more and more parking garages with the necessary infrastructure technology – we plan to do several hundred of them worldwide in the next few years.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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