Volkswagen Group set to have autonomous parking ready by 2020
Search Driven for Volkswagen for sale
Volkswagen Group is testing its latest autonomous technology aimed at taking the stress out of parking before rolling out the feature in production vehicles within the next three years.
Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche are testing autonomous parking at Hamburg Airport in Germany, with pilot vehicles navigating their way through a multi-story car park and finding a empty space on their own. Volkswagen Group say the advantage of this testing location is that the technology will can be used in any car park globally.
The brands have pooled together their know-how to get an autonomous function ready for use in production vehicles across all three brands, set to be available for customers from 2020.
"Autonomous parking can make an important contribution to creating convenient, stress-free mobility for our customers," says Chief Digital Officer of the Volkswagen Group, Johann Jungwirth.
"We therefore want to democratise the technology and make it accessible to as many people as possible.”
The autonomous parking function being publicly demonstrated for the first time in Hamburg has already left the research lab and is currently at an advanced stage of development.
The technology has been real-world tested in two stages. Firstly, in selected multi-storey car parks in an exclusive traffic flow, i.e. in separate areas of the car park not accessible to people. Before operation in exclusive traffic begins, the autonomous parking system is being tested through thousands of parking procedures in different places around the world.
The next stage tests autonomous parking in mixed traffic, i.e. vehicles parking and moving autonomously in the same areas of the car park as cars with drivers. And the vision is clear: to have vehicles parking autonomously in all car parks, including public ones, such as outside supermarkets.
Volkswagen Group says it is developing this technology in stages, both internally and publicly, to demonstrate to customers that the technology is prepared for the real world.
"What we offer our customers works absolutely reliably and safely. This is what today's technology for vehicles from the Volkswagen Group stands for, and we will continue to keep this promise – also in the era of autonomous driving," says Jungwirth.
The vehicles with the autonomous parking function will all be equipped with an active surroundings recognition system. This is able to recognise objects and react accordingly, be that by going around them, braking or completely stopping. Vehicles are equipped for this with a sensor set, including ultrasound, radar and cameras, with all data processed in a central control unit in the car.
In the multi-storey car park the car uses map data to drive on its own to a vacant parking space. Simple pictorial markers put up in the car park provide the vehicles with a secondary means of orientation.
Porsche is also testing a new 'Park & Charge' feature to automate hybrid or full-electric vehicle charging once the car has parked itself.
“In public areas, and possibly even at home, charging robots will contribute to increasing the acceptance of electric mobility,” says Head of Electrics/Electronics Development at Porsche, Uwe Michael.
"For the car gets not only automatically parked, but automatically charged as well. After going to a restaurant, for instance, the customer returns to a fully charged vehicle."
“At the same time, utilisation of the charging infrastructure is improved, because the car is only at a charging point for as long as it takes to be charged.”
Park & Charge kicks into action once an electric car has parked up fully autonomously at a charging point, vehicle and charging robot communicate via WLAN.
The vehicle's charging cap is automatically opened, the charging robot's arm moves forward and establishes the connection between electric mains and on-board charger. Afterwards, the vehicle automatically parks in a different parking space, freeing up the charging point for the next electric car.
“Our clear objective is autonomously driving vehicles that facilitate mobility for everyone at the push of a button and that gives people back time and quality of life as well as greatly improving safety on the roads," said Jungwirth.
"Autonomous parking is a milestone on the way there.”