Volkswagen in collaboration to develop automated parking

Volkswagen in collaboration to develop automated parking

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In a collaborative project involving Bosch and several leading universities, Volkswagen is supporting development of an automated parking system not only saves users precious time from hours of fruitless searching but also, in the case of electric vehicles, managing the usage of charging stations.

Taking a lead role in the project is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich; other contributing academic partners include Braunschweig Technical University, Parma University, and Oxford University.

Officially called V-Charge, which is short for Valet Charge, the system operates entirely on hardware and technology that are commercially available in the market at present. On the project’s test vehicle, which is a Volkswagen e-Golf, a network of sensory devices consisting of four wide-angle cameras, two 3D cameras, and twelve ultrasound sensors help the vehicle perceive its surroundings including recognizing of pedestrian and other vehicles.

To help the vehicle locate itself and navigate within the parking lot, it must first receive a fully-digitized 3D map of the entire area from the building operators sent via a ‘Car2X’ communications platform. This approach allows GPS-independent operation of the system – crucial since reception is likely to be poor in multistorey or basement parking.

A typical scenario using the V-Charge system sees the commuter get off his/her vehicle at the building’s entrance and subsequently activating the system using a smartphone app. From there, the vehicle operates autonomously; after receiving a digital map of the parking lot, it finds its way to an empty bay and parks itself. When the user wants to leave, he/she simply summons the vehicle via the same smartphone app, and the vehicle autonomously finds its way to meet its owner.

For electric vehicles, the system will navigate the car to a bay with a wireless charging platform to replenish the vehicle’s battery. When the charging process is complete, the vehicle automatically moves to another parking space, leaving the charging station free for another electric car.

Image: Official Volkswagen release.


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