Tests will be conducted at Stuttgart airport.
Mercedes-Benz has been a leader in automotive technology since the birth of the car as we know it and is today pushing harder than ever before to stay ahead of the curve. The German carmaker has announced a slew of all-electric vehicles and plans to completely transform the company into an eco-conscious entity in the coming decade. As part of its push to dominate the world of autonomous driving, the company has announced that its Automated Valet Parking (AVP) system, co-developed with Bosch, will soon be made available for commercial operation.
While Mercedes-Benz forges ahead with the new technology, Ford has also teamed up with Bosch in developing a near-identical autonomous parking system which was demonstrated in downtown Detroit last month.
The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class already offers a magnificent range of technologies and has been built to accommodate the tech behind the coming automated valet parking. Customers can buy the optional Intelligent Park Auto package that prepares the car to receive smartphone commands that will allow it to drive itself to a reserved parking space.
"With the new S-Class, it's not just driving that's a luxury, but parking as well," says Dr. Michael Hafner, head of automated driving at Mercedes-Benz.
The system will first be launched at the P6 parking garage at Stuttgart airport. Here the company will test the new infrastructure and APCOA FLOW, a digital platform developed by Apcoa, the operator of the parking garage. The system will be ticketless and cashless, and preparations are already underway for the upcoming trial.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the first-ever production car to feature AVP technology and Level 4 autonomous driving, but the new system will be limited by the availability of parking garages fitted with the required infrastructure. "With [AVP], Mercedes-Benz is demonstrating that driverless parking will soon be possible," Hafner says. According to Mercedes, the automated vehicle drop-off and collection system will save both time and money, and Apcoa, Europe's largest parking garage operator, is already planning more intelligent parking lots.
"Looking ahead, we want to open up AVP to more customers at selected Apcoa locations," says Frank van der Sant, chief commercial officer at Apcoa Parking Holdings. With 1.5 million parking spaces across 9,500 locations, the new technology could open up space for 20 percent more vehicles.