On average, Germans spend 41 hours a year looking for a parking space, the British spend 44 hours and residents of New York even spend 107 hours a year.
The Volkswagen Group wants to give this time back to its customers and it has a clear vision: in future we simply leave our car at the entrance to the carpark and the car looks for a parking space and parks autonomously – without any stress, scratches and especially without wasting any time.
A pilot project from the Volkswagen Group shows how this is possible. In a multi-storey carpark near the terminal of Hamburg Airport, experts are currently testing autonomous parking with Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles. The project is part of the mobility partnership with the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg that aims to develop Hamburg as a model city for urban mobility.
The target is for the first customers to be able to test the new autonomous parking service at the beginning of the next decade. And then there will be an end to the search for parking spaces and passengers can head straight to the terminal.
Using what is to date unique technology, the Volkswagen Group is currently testing autonomous parking at Hamburg Airport. Based on a carpark map, the Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles navigate their way to a parking space on their own. Orientation is provided for them by simple pictorial markers installed in the multi-storey carpark.
Its advantage: this can be used in essentially any carpark. The function is set to be available for the first customers in selected multi-storey carparks from the start of the next decade.
The vehicles with the autonomous parking function will all be equipped with an active surroundings recognition system. This is able to recognise objects and react accordingly, be that by going around them, braking or completely stopping. Vehicles are equipped for this with a sensor set, including, for instance, ultrasound, radar and cameras. The data is processed in a central control unit in the car.
In the first stage. it will be possible to use autonomous parking in selected multi-storey carparks in an exclusive traffic flow, i.e. in separate areas of the carpark not accessible to people. Before operation in exclusive traffic begins, the autonomous parking system is being extensively tested – thousands of parking procedures in different places around the world are being performed and analysed. In parallel with this, safeguarding of the system through simulations is also taking place.
The next stage will be operation in mixed traffic, i.e. vehicles parking and moving autonomously in the same areas of the carpark as cars with drivers. And the vision is clear – to have vehicles parking autonomously in all carparks, including public ones, such as outside supermarkets.
Read about the automated valet parking at the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage.