Many of us experience butterflies of anxiety at the prospect of leaving our car with a valet during evenings out on the town. It’s a situation that creates the possibility for dents and dings if the valet is careless, and it also forces you to let a stranger into your private space. Mercedes-Benz and Bosch have teamed up to provide a solution that takes a human driver out of the equation. It’s called Automated Valet Parking.
- The autonomous valet technology works by wedding the car’s technology with the intelligent system of a specially designed parking garage.
- The pilot program is currently up and running in the parking garage of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.
- Mercedes-Benz’s new technology is another step in the inevitable march toward autonomous driving.
The pilot program is providing Mercedes-Benz with useful information about how the technology is used and ways in which it can be improved. The company says that existing parking garages can be easily retrofitted with Automated Valet Parking.
Parking Anxiety? There’s An App For That
Perhaps not surprisingly, a smartphone app is at the heart of this technology.
Upon arrival at the parking garage, you’d leave your vehicle in a designated drop-off area. Next, you’d exit the car and use a smartphone app to automatically maneuver the vehicle into a parking space with no human intervention. When you’re ready to collect the vehicle, you’d tap the app to guide the car out of the space and toward the designated pick-up area.
So how does it work? The technology uses sensors in the parking garage to map out the path that the vehicle will drive. The car’s technology converts commands received from the parking garage into driving maneuvers, and it’s able to stop the vehicle if necessary.
Automated Valet Parking is certainly convenient for drivers. It also offers a key benefit for those who own and operate parking garages: It allows the space in these garages to be used more efficiently. Mercedes-Benz claims that this technology can optimize a parking garage’s capacity by as much as 20 percent.
That provides a good incentive for garages to implement wide adoption. No word yet on this tech making its way to the U.S.