Mercedes cars can now park themselves WITHOUT a human at the wheel

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German engineers have devised the world’s first fully-automated driverless parking function, which safely steers cars into the tightest garage spaces (pictured)


Mercedes cars can now park themselves WITHOUT a human at the wheel as Germany gives green light on fully automated trials

  • All commands come from the parking garage, not the vehicle or the car’s driver 
  • The specially designed technology can be retrofitted in other parking garages 
  • Bosch say fully automated garages of the future may hold 20 percent more cars

German engineers have devised the world’s first fully-automated driverless parking function, which safely steers cars into the tightest garage spaces.

The new feature – a joint effort between companies Bosch and Daimler – could eliminate the age-old problem of parking too close to other vehicles.

It may, experts say, even boost the amount of cars a multi-story car park can hold by maximising available space. 

Impressively, the technology is infrastructure-based, meaning all commands come from the parking garage, not the vehicle or the pedestrian. 

German engineers have devised the world’s first fully-automated driverless parking function, which safely steers cars into the tightest garage spaces (pictured)

HOW DOES IT WORK? 

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 manoeuvres. 

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 vehicles stops immediately. 

The companies are currently trialling the project in the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage, Stuttgart, where the service is accessed via a smartphone app. 

If successful, the technology can be retrofitted in other parking garages, with the pilot expected to lead to the expansion of autonomous parking, including in the UK.

This process relies on the interplay between the garage-embedded technology supplied by Bosch and Mercedes-Benz automotive technology within the car. 

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 manoeuvres. 

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 vehicles stops immediately. 

To use it, a person simply drives in to the parking garage, gets out, and sends the car to a parking space by tapping on a smartphone screen. 

Once the driver has left the parking garage to go about their business, the car drives itself to an assigned space and parks. 

The companies are currently trialling the project in the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage, Stuttgart, where the service is accessed via a smartphone app

The companies are currently trialling the project in the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage, Stuttgart, where the service is accessed via a smartphone app

Bosch say fully automated garages of the future may hold 20 percent more cars

Bosch say fully automated garages of the future may hold 20 percent more cars

'As a pioneer in automated driving, our project paves the way for automated valet parking to go into mass production in the future,' said Daimler's Dr. Michael Hafner

‘As a pioneer in automated driving, our project paves the way for automated valet parking to go into mass production in the future,’ said Daimler’s Dr. Michael Hafner

Later, the car returns to the drop-off point in exactly the same way. 

When the car owner is ready to leave, they order the vehicle via the app. 

Their car will start and drive autonomously to a ‘Pick-up Area’ – which is all detected by the intelligent system of the parking garage.

Dr. Michael Hafner, the head of drive technologies and automated driving at Daimler AG, said: ‘As a pioneer in automated driving, our project paves the way for automated valet parking to go into mass production in the future.’

HOW DO SELF-DRIVING CARS ‘SEE’?

Self-driving cars often use a combination of normal two-dimensional cameras and depth-sensing ‘LiDAR’ units to recognise the world around them.

However, others make use of visible light cameras that capture imagery of the roads and streets. 

They are trained with a wealth of information and vast databases of hundreds of thousands of clips which are processed using artificial intelligence to accurately identify people, signs and hazards.   

In LiDAR (light detection and ranging) scanning – which is used by Waymo – one or more lasers send out short pulses, which bounce back when they hit an obstacle.

These sensors constantly scan the surrounding areas looking for information, acting as the ‘eyes’ of the car.

While the units supply depth information, their low resolution makes it hard to detect small, faraway objects without help from a normal camera linked to it in real time.

In November last year Apple revealed details of its driverless car system that uses lasers to detect pedestrians and cyclists from a distance.

The Apple researchers said they were able to get ‘highly encouraging results’ in spotting pedestrians and cyclists with just LiDAR data.

They also wrote they were able to beat other approaches for detecting three-dimensional objects that use only LiDAR.

Other self-driving cars generally rely on a combination of cameras, sensors and lasers. 

An example is Volvo’s self driving cars that rely on around 28 cameras, sensors and lasers.

A network of computers process information, which together with GPS, generates a real-time map of moving and stationary objects in the environment.

Twelve ultrasonic sensors around the car are used to identify objects close to the vehicle and support autonomous drive at low speeds.

A wave radar and camera placed on the windscreen reads traffic signs and the road’s curvature and can detect objects on the road such as other road users.

Four radars behind the front and rear bumpers also locate objects.

Two long-range radars on the bumper are used to detect fast-moving vehicles approaching from far behind, which is useful on motorways.

Four cameras – two on the wing mirrors, one on the grille and one on the rear bumper – monitor objects in close proximity to the vehicle and lane markings. 

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