Following the approval late last year of the use of highly automated parking in the P6 garage at Germany’s Stuttgart Airport, parking operator APCOA and technical partner Bosch are to make spaces available for the use of the system at 15 further garages across the country.
From Hamburg to Munich, work to expand the infrastructure-based, automated, and driverless SAE Level 4 parking system is set to start in 2023. As a first step, Bosch and APCOA are planning to make up to four parking spaces per parking garage ready for automated valet parking.
Automated valet parking is the wave of the future: The driver simply parks the vehicle in a handover zone near the entrance of a parking garage, and uses an app to start the highly automated and driverless parking service. The basis for this is Bosch stereo cameras, which not only identify vacant parking spaces but also monitor the driving aisle and its surroundings, and reliably detect obstacles or people in the aisle. If an unexpected obstacle is detected, the vehicle brakes and safely comes to a complete stop.
Only once the route is clear does it continue on its way. For this purpose, all the data generated by the cameras is fed into edge computers. Smart algorithms transmit the driving maneuver to be made and thus enable driverless parking – even when moving between stories on narrow ramps. The distinctive feature of this solution is that the smart technology installed in the parking garage keeps the technical requirements in the vehicle to a minimum, so that the automated and driverless valet parking service lends itself to all vehicle classes.
Thanks to APCOA’s FLOW platform, this service is not only driverless but also ticketless and cashless. Drivers are already using the eponymous app to help lighten the burden of parking. This ranges from making firm reservations for a parking space, to contactless entry into the parking garage – now, conveniently, via license plate recognition – and to fully automated payment, invoicing, and contactless exit.
In the years ahead, Bosch’s modular system will allow the number of parking spaces featuring the infrastructure technology to be quickly expanded to up to 200 parking bays at each of the 15 locations.
Germany is one of the few countries to have already passed the Level 4 legislation that creates a framework for systems such as automated valet parking. Other countries, such as France, are poised to follow.
“We will expand the number of such parking spaces based on the expected ramp-up of vehicles featuring automated valet parking. Our experience with charge spots for electric vehicles shows us how important it is for infrastructure growth to keep pace with the technology. Together with our partner APCOA, we are now making sure that this will be the case for automated valet parking,” says Dr Markus Heyn, member of the Bosch board of management and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector.
The master agreement now signed by Bosch and APCOA is the first step toward a worldwide market launch. The goal is to equip several hundred parking garages across the globe with automated valet parking in the years ahead.