Driverless parking from Hamburg to Munich

Bosch and APCOA to provide automated valet parking technology in parking garages across Germany

Now that automated valet parking has been approved for commercial use in the P6 parking garage at Stuttgart airport, Bosch and APCOA are branching out and installing the technology in 15 further parking garages in Germany. From Hamburg to Munich, work to expand the infrastructure-based, automated, and driverless SAE Level 4 parking system is set to start in 2023.

“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.”

Dr. Markus Heyn

Dr. Markus Heyn

Member of the Bosch board of management and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector

Start of the worldwide market launch of automated valet parking

Designed for rideshare drivers

From left to right: Andreas Dempf and Claudia Barthle (Bosch), as well as Frank van der Sant and Niels Christ (APCOA PARKING Group)

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. ermany 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. Automated valet parking will soon be available in selected parking garages in cities such as Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Munich. Further parking garages in Europe are set to follow.

“With the automated valet parking solution, we can offer our parking customers a whole new level of convenience. This function is especially advantageous at locations where time is an issue, such as airports, concert halls, event locations, and trade fair locations. In other words, our location at Stuttgart airport is only the beginning,” says Frank van der Sant, a member of the board of management and chief commercial officer of APCOA PARKING Group.

Smart interaction of infrastructure and vehicle technology

Smart interaction

The pilot parking garage at Stuttgart airport will be a premiere for new Bosch video cameras that can identify vacant parking spaces, monitor the driving aisle and its surroundings, and detect obstacles or people in the aisle.

Automated valet parking is the wave of the future: gone are the days of time-consuming searches for parking spaces, irksome maneuvering, and the risk of dents and scratches. 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.

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. The system recognizes the customer’s vehicle or the license plate, and the barriers open automatically, making a ticket and trip to the ticket machine redundant.

World’s first approved highly automated parking system (SAE Level 4)

Driverless parking across Germany

Once the corresponding laws have been passed, automated valet parking will be able to gradually roll out in other countries around the world as well.

Automated valet parking has developed by leaps and bounds. In mid-2017, Bosch and Mercedes-Benz presented the solution to the general public as part of a pilot project in the parking garage of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Only two years later, the partners obtained the world’s first special permit to operate automated valet parking using selected vehicles without a safety driver in the actual traffic conditions found in parking garages.

The next milestone came at the end of 2020, when Bosch, Mercedes-Benz, and APCOA made the highly automated and driverless parking service available at Stuttgart airport, where they worked on the Level 4 system’s first commercial use. Automated valet parking in the P6 parking garage at Stuttgart airport recently became the world’s first highly automated driverless (SAE Level 4) parking function to be given official approval for commercial use in Germany.

Bosch Automated valet parking

Automated valet parking

Automated valet parking is the first driverless parking service (SAE level 4) that enables optimal space utilization and new service offerings.

Bosch has developed automated valet parking, the world’s first highly automated driverless (SAE Level 4) parking function. It not only takes the hassle out of searching for a parking spot but also handles the actual task of parking the car in the parking garage. 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. 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.

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