Bosch, Daimler get license for Level 4 driverless valet parking
The two companies have received approval from the traffic authorities in Baden-Württemberg for an automated parking system in the multi-storey car park of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart (Germany). The automated access and parking service is activated and controlled via a smartphone app and does not require a security driver. It is thus the world’s first fully automated and driverless parking function approved by the authorities for everyday use in accordance with SAE Level 4.
To use the function, the user drives the car to a transfer point in the entrance area of the car park. There he activates the function via his app; the car then automatically moves on to an assigned space and parks. If desired, the car can also drive up again in the same way. The Bosch multi-storey car park infrastructure interacts with vehicle technology from Mercedes-Benz. Sensors in the car park monitor the corridor and the surroundings and provide the information needed to control the vehicle. The technology in the car converts the commands of the infrastructure into driving maneuvers. In this way, the cars can also independently drive up and down ramps and change floors within a multi-storey car park. If the infrastructure sensors detect an obstacle, the vehicle stops immediately.
Bosch and Daimler have been working on the project since 2015; two years ago, the duo presented a pilot solution in the parking garage of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. The official approval that has now been obtained formally applies only to the actual installation in Stuttgart. But it is regarded as a blueprint for further installations. As Bosch reports, there are already interested parties in China; a corresponding installation in Peking is under construction.
The technology requires interaction between the local infrastructure in the car park and the sensors in the car. Therefore, a vehicle that automatically parks in the licensed location cannot necessarily perform this feat at other locations. A Bosch spokeswoman explained, however, that the technology for the system was deliberately designed to be open. “Wherever possible, we used open interfaces and function calls as well as established standards. It is therefore to be expected that other vehicle manufacturers will soon be equipping their cars with them as well. However, the spokeswoman declined to say who Bosch was talking to about this.
To achieve Level 4 autonomy, the car needs a number of additional devices, such as an appropriate cybertechnically secured communication interface and an additional braking system, in order to achieve the necessary redundancy of the technical systems.
And when does Daimler intend to offer automatic valet parking commercially? The spokesman kept his mouth shut. Just this much: “Of course we don’t want to wait another five years”.