Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has approved the use of a highly automated parking system for use in the P6 parking garage run by Apcoa at Stuttgart Airport. The system, which was designed by Bosch and Mercedes-Benz, has accordingly become the world’s first highly automated driverless parking function to SAE Level 41 to be officially approved for commercial use.
“Driverless parking is a key aspect of automated mobility,” says Markus Heyn, member of the Bosch board of management and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector. “The highly automated parking system we developed together with our partner Mercedes-Benz shows just how far we’ve already progressed along this development path. It will be with driverless parking that everyday automated driving will start. From the outset, Bosch has taken the approach of making the infrastructure in parking garages intelligent. Accordingly, we have set standards in this area. In the future, our aim is to equip more and more parking garages with the necessary infrastructure technology – we plan to do several hundred of them worldwide in the next few years.”
Bosch and Mercedes-Benz plan to roll out the driverless parking service at Stuttgart Airport gradually. From the day it is released for operation, the first customers with S-Class and EQS models built since July 2022 whose vehicle variants feature the Intelligent Park Pilot2 service as part of Mercedes me connect, and who have activated this service, will be able to use the function at the P6 parking garage. Once drivers have used their Mercedes me app to book a parking space in advance, they can leave their vehicle in a predetermined drop-off area. After all the passengers have exited the vehicle, the app starts the parking maneuver. The parking system checks whether the route to the booked parking space is clear, and that all the other technical requirements have been satisfied. If this is the case, drivers receive a notification in the app confirming that the intelligent infrastructure has taken control of the vehicle. They can then leave the parking garage. The vehicle starts automatically and finds its own way to its parking space. When the driver wishes to retrieve their car from the parking garage, they can summon it via smartphone command. Their vehicle then makes its own way to a predetermined pick-up area.
“We are pleased to have successfully developed a connected system for driverless and contactless parking together with our partners from Bosch, Mercedes-Benz and Stuttgart Airport,” says Frank van der Sant, a member of the board of management and chief commercial officer of Apcoa Parking Group. “Our digital platform, Apcoa Flow, can be used to book spaces, for contactless access to the parking garage, and for automatic invoicing of the stay in the garage. For our customers, this means a huge gain in convenience: planning certainty, hardly any wasted time, short distances to walk, and a contactless and cashless parking process.”