Research project combines valet parking, battery charging

July 15, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In the V-Charge project, six research partners are currently developing applications around autonomous and, in some cases, electric vehicles. The focus of the project is on methods and algorithms enabling vehicles to autonomously park, charge its batteries and get back to its user as soon at it is summoned.

The technology developed within the V-Charge projects enables drivers to to pull up right in front of his / her destination’s entrance, get out and establish the link to his vehicle via an associated smartphone application. Operating automatically, the vehicle has a digital map relayed to it and within the parking area or car park autonomously navigates to a parking space. If it is an electric vehicle, the system additionally prioritises a parking bay with an automatic charging facility. Pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles are identified by the vehicle’s sensors. Therefore, the vehicle is allowed to travel in so-called 'mixed traffic'. The selected parking area neither has to be an enclosed domain nor is any complex technical equipment required other than the fixtures to charge electric vehicles wirelessly. The development of such equipment however is not part of the research project at hand.

As the electric vehicle nears its destination, the system recognises via local sensors whether the allocated parking space is taken. This part of the project might already be outdated today; it can be expected that by the time the features developed in the V-Charge project will be commercially available an interactive parking space management will also be available that directly guides the vehicle to available parking spaces.