The jury is still out — autonomous cars (or self-driving cars) may be the future of everything (according to some people) or they may just remain a very niche technology (according to others). Either way, the news of a new partnership between Bosch (known for its autonomous driving prowess), Daimler, and car2go looks useful. They are teaming up to test out automated car parking in a parking garage.
Even if self-driving cars never make it to the streets in big numbers, man, I’d freakin’ love to skip the annoyances of parking in a parking garage. Finding a spot, not scraping the car against a pillar, not having another car scrape mine as it pulls out, not having to find my car or walk through a dingy and dangerous parking garage — there are a lot of things to love about this idea.
Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Daimler AG, and the main man responsible for “Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development,” states: “In collaboration with our partner Bosch and our mobility service car2go we are developing and testing an infrastructure-based solution for a fully automated valet parking service. For us another step on our way to autonomous driving—or as in this case: towards autonomous parking!”
So, how exactly does this test program work? Naturally, with car2go as a partner, it works through the car2go system. Using your smartphone (assuming you have one), you book a car2go car like normal. Once you are in the “pick-up zone” of the parking garage, your car just comes and picks you up. Spooky, eh? The opposite happens when you return the car.
Basically, it’s like valet, but without the human… or the human error.
As I said, Bosch has the autonomous driving prowess, and it is the one doing the heavy lifting here. “Bosch is developing the necessary infrastructure for the car park, including parking space occupancy sensors, cameras and the communication technology,” a press release notes. “Furthermore, Bosch will account for the communication unit in the vehicle, which also controls the parking process and defines together with Daimler the interface with existing vehicle components.”
That’s not to say Daimler doesn’t have a significant hand in the matter too. Going on: “Daimler will adjust the sensor systems and the software in the car2go vehicles and enables future innovation leaps for the car-sharing model of car2go.”
Looks cool. And yet another reason to join car2go!