World’s first automated driverless parking: How Mercedes-Benz and Bosch make it work

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Bosch and Mercedes-Benz Group have received an approval for a fully automated self-parking system which enables cars to drive themselves into a pre-booked parking spot at the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage in Stuttgart, Germany. The ‘Automated Valet Parking‘ service can be accessed through a smartphone app and requires no driver, which makes it the world’s first fully automated driverless SAE Level 4 parking function to be officially approved for everyday use.
Bosch says that the two companies started working on the fully automated driverless parking back in 2015, with the service being live at the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking since 2018, accompanied by trained safety personnel. The prerequisite to use the service includes equipment like Electronic Stability Program, electric parking brake, steering assistance, a start/stop function, and a communication unit built in your car. Furthermore, the service is limited to automatic cars only.
The driverless system guides the car to a free space using intelligent parking garage infrastructure, parks the car and thereby helps saves time, helps avoid driver errors, and also opens up 20% more space for vehicles in the same area, claims Bosch. Moreover, Automated Valet Parking also also enables parking facility operators to optimally deploy their existing parking capacities and offer services like automated battery charging or a car wash.

How it works
As a driver, all you need to do is stop the vehicle in the designated drop-off area and get out of the car. The Bosch infrastructure installed in the parking garage then takes over and interacts with the technology in the vehicle to drive it to a vacant space and park it. It’s actually as simple as it sounds! Bosch says that the parking spot that the system will aim for is selected to suit the vehicle’s size.
The Bosch technology includes cameras that recognize suitable, vacant parking spots in the parking garage, that monitor the driving corridor and its surroundings, and that detect unexpected obstacles or persons in the car’s path so that the vehicle can react immediately. The technology in the car converts the commands from the infrastructure into driving maneuvers.

Automatic Valet Parking

Once you’re back, all you need to do is summon the vehicle in the smartphone app, and the system returns it to the pick-up area. The parking fee payment is automatically processed as the vehicle exits the garage.
Availability
Do note that the Automated Valet Parking system will only be available for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or EQS produced after July 2022. For now, Bosch and Mercedes-Benz have obtained approval from the relevant authorities in Baden-Württemberg for their automated parking system in the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking only. However, it’s a matter of time before we see the system being made available across other public parking spaces in Germany.

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