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Volkswagen Group readying autonomous parking for series vehicles in 2020

The Volkswagen Group is readying autonomous parking functionality for deployment in series production vehicles in 2020. Group brands Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche are currently testing autonomous parking at Hamburg Airport.

In the test scenario, users can book a parking space at Hamburg Airport from home using an app and simply leave their car at the entrance to the multi-storey car park. Everything else is done automatically: the vehicle looks for a free parking space—if required, at an electric charging station—based on a map of the parking facility.

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Orientation is provided for them by simple pictorial markers installed in the multi-storey car park. This approach can be used in essentially any car park.

While the vehicle owner is away, parcels ordered are delivered to the vehicle trunk and a dry cleaning service hangs freshly laundered clothes straight in the vehicle. Upon return, the driver simply sends a brief message via the app and a short time later the vehicle is ready to drive home at the exit of the car park. Billing is fast and without queuing at the parking machine, also via the app.

This integration of user-focused services combined with innovative technology is pointing the way to the future of mobility. The cooperation on this project is equally trend-setting. Because one thing is certain: we can only shape the mobility of the future together, with the customer at the centre of everything we do— across market borders and with strong partners such as the city of Hamburg and Hamburg Airport.

—Johann Jungwirth, Chief Digital Officer of the Volkswagen Group

The pilot project for autonomous parking at Hamburg Airport is part of the strategic mobility partnership between the Volkswagen Group and the city of Hamburg. The common goal is to develop Hamburg as a model city for urban mobility of the future.

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. It is due to be ready to order for some initial Volkswagen Group vehicles from the start of the next decade.

The Group will introduce autonomous parking in stages, with an emphasis on safe operation:

  1. In the first stage it will be possible to use autonomous parking in selected multi-storey car parks in an exclusive traffic flow, i.e. in separate areas of the car park not accessible to people.

  2. The next stage will be operation in mixed traffic, i.e. vehicles parking and moving autonomously in the same areas of the car park as cars with drivers.

The vehicles with the autonomous parking function will all be equipped with an active surroundings recognition system. This is able to recognize objects and react accordingly, be that by going around them, braking or completely stopping. Vehicles are equipped for this with a sensor set, including, for instance, ultrasound, radar and cameras. The data is processed in a central control unit in the car.

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