You’ve probably read about modern cars that can help you parallel park, but how would you like a car that drops you off and then goes and finds a place to park all on its own?
Mercedes-Benz is working to make that dream a reality, along with automotive supplier Bosch, and car-sharing service Car2Go. The concept works like this: book a car through Car2Go’s smartphone app and show up in the pick-up area of the car park where the vehicle is located, and your rental will drive itself to you. At the end of your time slot, leave the car in the pick-up/drop-off zone, and it will motor away to park itself, leaving you free to go.
The car-sharing angle is just a start: Benz says its ultimate goal is to develop a fully-automated valet parking system that would work in concert with parking facilities fitted with the necessary infrastructure.
“Fully automated parking will be ready for mass-production before fully automated driving”, says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, the responsible Board Member of Bosch. “Low driving speeds and the information from the car park infrastructure enable a fast implementation.”
Bosch is working on the parking lot tech, which includes parking space occupancy sensors, and is developing the in-car technology along with Benz. As much as we like driving, we’d certainly appreciate the chance to avoid the stress of Christmas-season parking in busy mall lots, not to mention the frustration of dealing with drivers who can’t be bothered to park properly.