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Volkswagen wants to relieve us from parking stress

Nadja Beschetnikova
April 18, 2018

The car manufacturer Volkswagen is cooperating with the City of Hamburg and Hamburg Airport on a possibly revolutionary traffic project: autonomous parking. VW has started a pilot project in a multi-storey car park at Hamburg Airport.

The idea behind it is that cars equipped with appropriate sensors such as ultrasound, radar and camera search for gaps in the car park and drive there without human intervention.Thus we are relieved of the annoying search for a parking space and we gain a lot of time that we would otherwise have lost. This is an important step towards autonomous driving.

“People currently spend around 30% of their driving time in urban areas looking for a parking space,” Johann Jungwirth, CDO of the VW Group, said in a statement.

With three electric vehicles from Audi, VW and Porsche, the VW Group demonstrated on April, 13, how autonomous parking could function.

During the pilot trial, a white Passat approached the barrier at Hamburg Airport car park P4, directly opposite Terminal 2. The driver got out, locked the car, gave a parking command via smartphone and went to the plane. The car automatically headed for the nearest parking space without a driver. On the way back, when the driver wants to pick up the car, he should just send an activation via app, and the car will be waiting at the exit of the car park.

In Volkswagen's vision, drivers are to use further services during the parking period. Parking fees are charged via the app; the trunk of the car can be used as the delivery address for online orders.

Users should then be able to book a parking space via an app.

“Our clear objective is autonomously driving vehicles that facilitate mobility for everyone at the touch of a button,” said Johann Jungwirth. 

Though the idea of self-driving cars on public roads is still controversial, especially after an incident with autonomous Uber car, which has already killed a woman in the street in Arizona,  many competitors are active on the market.

Bosch is also working on automatic parking. Last year, the company, in cooperation with Daimler, already implemented valet parking system at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. BMW had also presented a similar project.

As a first step, Volskwagen wants to implement the project in the separate parking garage areas that are not accessible to people. The next step is the operation in mixed traffic, including areas in front of the supermarkets or in shopping centres.

According to VW, the first customers will have the chance to test the system at the beginning of 2020.