Bosch and Daimler have reached a milestone on the way to automated driving: the two companies have now obtained approval from the relevant authorities in Baden-Württemberg for their automated parking system in the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage in Stuttgart, Germany. The automated valet parking service is accessed via a smartphone app and requires no safety driver. This makes it the world’s first fully automated driverless SAE Level 4 1 parking function to be officially approved for everyday use.
Drive into the parking garage, get out, and send the car to a parking space just by tapping on a smartphone screen – automated valet parking has no need for a driver. Once the driver has left the parking garage, the car drives itself to an assigned space and parks. Later, the car returns to the drop-off point in exactly the same way. This process relies on the interplay between the intelligent parking garage infrastructure supplied by Bosch and Mercedes-Benz automotive technology.
Bosch sensors in the parking garage monitor the driving corridor and its surroundings and provide the information needed to guide the vehicle. The technology in the car converts the commands from the infrastructure into driving maneuvers. This way, cars can even drive themselves up and down ramps to move between stories in the parking garage. If the infrastructure sensors detect an obstacle, the vehicle stops immediately.
Bosch and Daimler started developing fully automated driverless parking in 2015, and in the summer of 2017, their pilot solution in the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage in Stuttgart reached an important milestone: automated valet parking in real conditions, with and without drivers at the wheel, was presented to the public for the first time. This premiere was followed by an intensive testing and start-up phase.
Starting in 2018, museum visitors could use the parking service live, accompanied by trained safety personnel, and share their experience. One aspect of the pilot project involved testing lighting concepts on the vehicles. Turquoise lighting indicates that a vehicle is in automated driving mode and informs passers-by and other road users that the vehicle is driving itself. The insights from these tests are reflected in the recently issued SAE standard 3134.