Volkswagen's latest tech project picks up on the convenience of valet parking and automates it, with a topping-up service for electric cars offered too.
Volkswagen is building on its autonomous parking technology with the unveiling of the new V-Charge project.
Developed together with Bosch and a group of international universities, V-Charge partners remote self-parking technology with a wireless charging system for electric vehicles.
As with other experimental ‘valet’ parking systems, such as Volvo's concept revealed in 2013, V-Charge allows vehicle occupants to be dropped at the entrance to a shopping centre before commanding the car to find itself a parking space – and to return when summoned.
A three-dimensional map of the participating centre’s parking garage is sent to the vehicle upon entry – which means that GPS is not required – and this is teamed with camera systems to help the car find its way while avoiding obstacles and potential collisions.
In the case of Volkswagen’s V-Charge, the system also enables a suitably equipped electric vehicle to locate a space with wireless charging available, negating the need for the driver to manually connect it to a corded station.
This also means that while owners don’t need to connect the vehicle themselves, other vehicles can easily take over the wireless charging space once it has been autonomously vacated by the fully charged car of the previous user.
Importantly, Volkswagen says the system is based entirely on technologies available today, meaning that on a technical level, we could see these systems in place very soon.
On a realistic level, however, we shouldn’t expect to see this sort of innovation in public spaces anytime soon. Until legislation catches up with advancements in autonomous driving, you’ll be walking to and from your car for a while to come. (Oh, the horror.)