China is a very important for most carmakers and companies like Daimler AG have even established R&D centres to develop products and services specifically for consumers in that huge market. So it’s not surprising that new technology might first appear in China and this has been the case with Automated Valet Parking. Together with Bosch, Daimler today announced the successful premiere of a pioneering effort in infrastructure-supported driverless parking and marks the first pilot of its kind in China. The technology debuted in the parking garage at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart in 2017.

Automated Valet Parking, to the extent legally allowed where used, enables vehicles to proceed to an assigned space and for the user to retrieve the vehicle via their smartphone. This will undergo further testing by Daimler and Bosch at the Mercedes-Benz Research and Development Centre.

In modern urban parking environments, shortages of parking spaces, locating suitable parking spots, and other issues, present inconveniences for vehicle owners. Automated Valet Parking has the capacity to ease difficulties involved in the parking process by automating it, saving time and effort, and opening up new possibilities for vehicle owners.

The Automated Valet Parking journey begins when the user parks the vehicle in a designated drop-off area before sending it to be parked using the smartphone app. After being registered by the intelligent system infrastructure installed in the car park, the vehicle is started and guided to an assigned parking space. Sensors installed in the car park monitor the driving corridor and its surroundings while steering the vehicle.

The vehicle’s onboard technology safely manoeuvres it in response to commands from the intelligent car park infrastructure, stopping the vehicle in good time when necessary. When a user is ready to pick up the car, it can be called through a smartphone app, after which it rolls to the pick-up area without a driver.

Prof. Dr. Hans Georg Engel, Head of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development China, said that Automated Valet Parking is an important milestone on the road towards autonomous driving. “Through our strong partnership with Bosch, we will adapt this technology to meet local needs. In the process, we will not only convenience vehicle owners, saving them time and energy, but also do our part to help bring automated driving technology to the next level,” he explained.

The pilot scheme in Beijing demonstrated Automated Valet Parking’s upgraded and more practical, real-world functionality. At the event, two vehicles were tested simultaneously to mirror the unique and complex traffic conditions found in contemporary Chinese cities. Both vehicles were also able to successfully navigate to a service area that could be equipped with a diverse range of facilities in the future. These might include charging infrastructure, car washing stations, express package pick-up and other features designed to meet the unique needs of Chinese customers.

Automated Valet Parking is an efficient solution for both car park management and vehicle users. Car parks equipped with this intelligent infrastructure as far as legally allowed can potentially accommodate up to 20% more vehicles, while users save time and enjoy greater convenience.

“Automated Valet Parking is another new endeavour for Bosch and Daimler to strive for ‘accident-free, stress-free and emission-free’ future mobility. Automated Valet Parking makes manually parking a thing of the past and helps vehicle owners to save time and ease stress. This pilot scheme also demonstrates Bosch’ transformation into a mobility service provider in close collaboration with our long-term strategic partner Daimler in the Chinese market,” said Ming Chen, President of Bosch Connected Mobility Solutions in China.

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