Daimler, Bosch Prepping Automated Public Parking at Mercedes-Benz Museum

The technology doesn’t require typical self-driving sensors on vehicles because it’s built into the garage infrastructure.

Doug Newcomb

July 24, 2019

3 Min Read
Starting in mid-2020, visitors to Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart will be able send their vehicles to self-park using smartphone app.Robert Bosch

While BMW, Volkswagen and Volvo have all shown and even offer some form of fully automated parking, such solutions require sensors and software that likely won’t be available on a critical mass of vehicles for some time. Tesla also has its Summon mode, although legally it only can be used on private property.

So you still can’t pull up to a restaurant, airport or shopping mall and have your vehicle whisked away – except by a human valet, of course. But starting in mid-2020 Daimler and Bosch will make this scenario a reality at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, with what it calls the first SAE Level 4 self-parking system sans human supervision.

Daimler and Bosch aim to have the Stuttgart museum system set a worldwide fully automated parking standard and have plans to expand it to other areas. “The parking of the future will be automated,” declares Rolf Nicodemus, project vice president-connected parking for Bosch.

Instead of expensive self-driving sensors built into vehicles, Bosch integrated lidar, cameras and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication into the museum parking garage that can scan the structure 25 times per second to detect objects and calculate distances. While Bosch supplies the technology for the garage infrastructure, it worked with Daimler so that any vehicle with an automatic transmission, electronic stability control, an electric parking brake and steering, engine stop/start and onboard connectivity can be robo-parked.

Daimler and Bosch began developing fully automated driverless parking in 2015 and launched a pilot in 2017 at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. During a Stuttgart media preview in 2017, we rode in a ghost car as it maneuvered through the parking garage and up several levels.

While the Mercedes-Benz E-Class moved through the garage slower than most human drivers and did some hard, low-speed braking at things we couldn’t see, overall the operation was impressive. A Bosch representative even walked in front of the car to show how it will stop if it detects an object in its path.

Daimler and Bosch say a milestone in opening the system to the public is gaining government approval to operate a vehicle without a driver onboard. The project recently received permission from the German state of Baden-Württemberg’s transportation ministry and is supervised by the independent German safety-certification authority TÜV Rheinland.

“We involved safety experts from the beginning,” says Matthias Esser, certification and regulatory affairs manager-automated driving for Daimler AG. Daimler and Bosch have in place backup systems in case the automated parking technology encounters issues and set up secure communications between system components.

“We have several layers of protection to safeguard against unauthorized intrusion,” says Matthew Nimmo, chief system architect and safety manager for Bosch.

To use the system, museum guests exit their vehicles at a designated drop-off area and send them to park using a smartphone app (see photo below). After the parking garage identifies the vehicle, it’s guided to an assigned space. When museum visitors are ready to leave, they summon their car to the pick-up area using the app.



Bosch and Mercedes-Benz will use the project to gather data on automated self-parking and examine how to retrofit parking garages with the technology. While this may be expensive for existing parking garages, the pay-off for garage operators is fitting up to 20% more vehicles into the same space, says Nicodemus.

“It creates efficiencies for parking operators at airport, shopping areas and restaurants,” he adds. “Soon there could be no people standing at a valet kiosk at these places.”

It also means fully self-driving cars could be available in other areas soon, although we won’t get to ride in them. And won’t have to ever tip a valet again – or deal with door dings.

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