Driverless valet parking is said to be a significant milestone on the way to fully autonomous driving. The pilot solution introduced by Daimler and Bosch is the first infrastructure-supported solution for automated valet parking in real-world mixed traffic. The demo took place in the multi-storey car park that belongs to Daimler’ Mercedes Benz museum in Stuttgart (Germany).
For the demo, the companies used a modified and auto-driving enabled Mercedes E-class sedan. Part of the demonstration object is an app, installed on the user’s smartphone. Through this app, users can make a vehicle reservation. The vehicle then drives autonomously to a pick-up area. The return works accordingly – the user drives up to the pick-up area, exits the car and the vehicle roars away to a parking spot in the building – without a driver. Navigation and search for a free parking space is supported by the sensor-based infrastructure of the building, which in turn has been developed by Bosch.
For the time being, this is a demo. Daimler plans to offer this technology to visitors of its Museum from 2018, but even then it will have the character of a demonstration. Nevertheless, it shows the state of the art achieved. “We are approaching to autonomous driving faster than many believe”, said Michael Hafner who oversees autonomous driving and active safety in Daimler’s vehicle development.