In high density areas such as Austin, Denver, Seattle and Washington DC, owning a car in the city can sometimes be frustrating and expensive. Car2go is a ride-sharing company that seeks to create the flexibility of getting a car when you need it, where you need it. Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz and car2go) and Bosch will be starting a pilot project for fully automating parking that will be integrated with the car2go service. Imagine a smartphone app that books a car for you, delivers it to a predesignated zone and also returns it to the assigned parking space when you’re done–without human assistance? This is the goal of a joint pilot project between Daimler, Bosch and car2go.
In the near future, well before automated driving becomes a reality in your state, fully automated parking will be possible wherever a parking area has an intelligent infrastructure is setup with a vehicle control unit from Bosch that works with integrated sensors used in the newest generation Mercedes-Benz. The car-sharing expertise of car2go will be the first application to use this fully automated parking technology.
“Our customers are always the center of attention and all of our actions are oriented towards them. In future the car will even go to them”, explains Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “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!”
The concept is relatively simple. Your smartphone is used to book a vehicle via car2go. When you reach the pick up zone of the parking lot/garage, the car drives up by itself, and then off you go. Returning the car is just as simple and straightforward. The smartphone app is used to direct you to the drop-zone of the parking lot/garage. The intelligent system of the parking lot/garage registers the car, takes control of the car, and then drives to an assigned parking space.
Check out this technology demonstration of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class that uses a combination of ultrasonic sensors and minimal driver input to park itself and which can also be used to exit the parking space using the same technology.
Bosch is developing the infrastructure for the car park, parking space occupancy sensors, cameras and the communication technology. Additionally, Bosch will work on the communication unit that controls the parking process of the vehicle. Daimler will fine-tune the sensor systems and the software in the car2go vehicles. This could also mean big future enhancements for the car-sharing model of car2go.
Car2go is a subsidiary of Daimler AG providing car-sharing services in European and North American cities. The company offers exclusively Smart Fortwo vehicles and features one-way point-to-point rentals. (Source: Wikipedia)