The valet experience will be available to all in the near future, thanks to autonomous driving technology – and Bosch is planning to be at the forefront of providing that tech.
In a new video released today, Bosch and technology partner Daimler have previewed a system that sees a Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan guided to its space by newly installed infrastructure in the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage.
This is not Bosch’s first swing at automated parking technology, having also previewed a similar system with Volkswagen in 2015, but it is the first time it’s been installed in a public parking facility.
Bosch describes the project as “the world’s first-ever infrastructure-based solution for a fully automated valet parking service in real conditions, with and without drivers at the wheel”.
The facility will be open to the public from early 2018, and visitors will be able to experience the system with supplied Mercedes-Benz pilot cars.
Over time, as the technology is proven, visitors with suitably equipped vehicles – likely the new E-Class and S-Class at least, although neither company has specified compatibility plans with other brands – will be able to experience the technology.
The system works as a cooperative pairing, with the parking infrastructure communicating with the vehicle’s on-board autonomous driving systems, guiding it to an available space.
Visitors will be able to drive into a valet bay, step out, and use a mobile app to request a parking space. The infrastructure will then take over, selecting a space and guiding the car away. The same app is used to recall the vehicle when needed.
Making the facility available to the general public is intended to help develop the technology further, monitoring how human users interact with the system.
Bosch says the project has been overseen “from the start” by government, including the Stuttgart regional administrative authority and the state of Baden-Württemberg’s transportation ministry, along with experts from TÜV Rheinland, a standards and testing company with offices around the world – including Australia.
Automated valet parking is considered by industry and government to be more than a mere convenience for motorists: According to Bosch, the technology could be used to increase the capacity of existing parking garages by up to 20 per cent.