Volkswagen Testing Self-Parking Cars in Public Space

Volkswagen aims to release self-parking cars and self-driving freight vehicles in 2020. More ambitious projects are also in development, such as ar AI zones where cars can execute delivery tasks.

With the ever-growing number of vehicles on the roads, it is becoming increasingly harder to find an adequate parking space. Volkswagen is looking to ease that frustration through self-parking vehicles.

Starting from last week, Volkswagen has begun testing the technology at the Hamburg Airport, after signing a contract with the German aviation company. Volkswagen will also outfit the rest of the VW Group cars (Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche, etc) with the technology by the end of 2020.

Johann Jungwirth, VW Group’s CDO, says that they aim to provide a stress-free and convenient mobility to car owners. Jungwirth also stated that they intend to make the technology as accessible and available as possible.

At the Hamburg Airport, the vehicles are ‘practicing’ “thousands of parking maneuvers” in a remote area of the garage that is not open to the public, in order to prevent accidents. In the next stage, the cars will use the entirety of the parking garage, to test how they respond to pedestrians and human-driven cars. Eventually, VW intends to test the AI in an outdoor parking area as well.

Currently, the owners of VW, Porsche, and Audi cars that have the most recent VW AI can leave their vehicle at the garage entrance, and the car will drive itself to a vacant spot. This tech uses mapping data and its sensors are capable of spotting ‘pictorial markers’ that help in the navigation of the vehicle. The drivers can communicate with the car through an app to prompt it to return to the garage entrance.

Smarter cars

A series of other companies are also working on parking AI. BMW, Ford, Jaguar, and Nissan teamed up to develop and test an AI that is said to be ready for parking both on the streets and in garages. However, the Volkswagen Group is the first to do testing in a public area.

Volkswagen also has some additional plans in store for car AIs.

Some models of Porsche that use a hybrid or electric engine, are capable of driving to a charging station, where they ‘talk’ to a dedicated ‘charging robot.’ The robot will then recharge the car to 100%, and the car will navigate back to a free parking spot.

Volkswagen is aiming to achieve much more than this, by testing their ‘V2X procedures’ next year that will allow communication between cars and networks in the vicinity. The data exchanged will be regarding traffic, weather, and optimal parking spaces. Volkswagen also set next year for the deadline for their self-driving freight cars.

Another piece of ambitious technology from Volkswagen is the (so far) Audi-exclusive ‘AI zones.’ In these areas, Audi cars can drive themselves to various businesses and communicate with the services there. Drivers tell their vehicles what to do with an application, like picking up mail or packages or making other deliveries and pickups that can be time-consuming for people.

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