Stuttgart Airport pilots automated valet parking service

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Stuttgart Airport is to trial an automated valet parking (AVP) solution being co-developed by Bosch, Mercedes-Benz and European parking garage operator Apcoa for commercial operation.

Preparations are currently underway to begin piloting the planned automated valet parking service at Stuttgart Airport’s P6 car park, with two spaces made available for self-parking vehicles.

The AVP will be featured inside the new Mercedes-Benz S Class. It will be able to receive a command from a smartphone to drive itself and park in a reserved parking spot, ensuring parking is both cashless and ticketless.

The trial will evaluate how the system interacts with Bosch’s intelligent infrastructure and Apcoa’s digital booking platform, Apcoa Flow, which currently allows for contactless entry into a car park, fully automated payment and contactless exit.

New Bosch video cameras that can identify vacant parking spaces, monitor the driving aisle and detect obstacles such as pedestrians will also be deployed, while a dedicated control centre will be set up to calculate the route the vehicles need to take to reach an available space.

The aim of the trial is to ensure that interactions between the vehicle, infrastructure technology, and car park operator run smoothly and are optimised for the customer

The in-vehicle technology has been designed to autonomously convert information from the cameras into driving manoeuvres, enabling cars to drive themselves around the parking garage, even moving between different storeys navigating narrow ramps.

If the cameras detect an unexpected obstacle the vehicle safely performs an emergency stop.

“Our intelligent parking garage infrastructure forms the basis for the future of driverless parking,” said Christoph Hartung, member of the executive management of Connected Mobility Solutions at Bosch. “Apcoa, Bosch, Mercedes-Benz, and Stuttgart Airport want to work together to make parking fully automatic.”

To facilitate the new one-touch parking function, a dedicated drop-off and pick-up area will be set up directly behind the entrance to the P6 parking garage. The S-Class will then park itself in the basement, guided by information from the infrastructure technology.

According to Stuttgart Airport, additional spaces will be added to the car park should driverless parking becomes standard in the future and as demand increases.

“Automated valet parking really enhances our passengers’ comfort and convenience and saves them time, especially when they’re in a hurry and just want to drop their car off quickly at the airport”, said Walter Schoefer, management spokesman for Flughafen Stuttgart.

It’s believed that, by increasing the availability of driverless and fully automated parking services, the same amount of space could accommodate up to 20% more vehicles.

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