Stuttgart - It might only apply to one parking garage for now, but Mercedes-Benz and Bosch are seeing this seemingly small step as a big milestone.
The two companies announced on Tuesday that they had received approval from Stuttgart authorities to operate their driverless valet service in the parking garage that serves the Mercedes-Benz museum.
Since a safety driver is no longer required, this makes it the first Level 4 automated parking function in the world to be officially approved for everyday use.
What this essentially means is that drivers can get out of their car after entering the parking garage and send their car to a parking space just by tapping on their smartphone screen. The system automatically assigns a parking space to the car and the rest happens autonomously. When the driver is finished with his or her business, another tap on the app sees the car returned to exactly the same place where the driver left it.
“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.”
The companies have also put significant effort into ensuring that the parking manoeuvre is executed with precision, while in-vehicle sensors are also in place to detect pedestrians and other cars in its path - anything in the way and the car comes to an immediate halt.
But it’s not just the car that requires smart infrastructure - Bosch sensors in the garage itself monitor the process and provide guidance to the vehicle.
The system has been in testing since 2017, with museum visitors getting to experience the technology first hand, but until now the rules have required that a safety driver be present in the vehicle.