A look into the near future of automated parking is given by ‘V-Charge’ (Valet Charge), an EU research project, in which six national and international partners are jointly developing new technologies. Its focus is on automating the search for a parking space within defined zones, such as multi-storey car park, with electric charging infrastructure. Once the charging process is finished, it automatically frees up the charging bay for another vehicle and looks for a conventional parking space.
Operating fully automatically, the vehicle has a digital map relayed to it and within the parking area or multi-storey car park autonomously navigates to a parking space. If it is an electric vehicle, the system additionally prioritizes a parking bay with an automatic charging facility. Pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles are identified by the cameras and ultrasound sensors integrated within the vehicle. Therefore, the vehicle is allowed to travel in so-called ‘mixed traffic’.
As the vehicle nears its destination, the system recognizes via local sensors if the allocated parking space is taken. If it is empty, the fully automatic parking maneuver begins and positions the vehicle exactly above the inductive charging spot. When the charging process is complete, the vehicle automatically moves to another parking space. When the driver returns to the multi-storey car park, he calls the vehicle back to the starting point via the V-Charge app. The vehicle moves to the defined pick-up location.
In addition to Volkswagen, which is providing the platform equipment, safety and control modules, as well as systems for static monitoring of surroundings, object recognition and automated parking, the international research consortium includes Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Braunschweig Technical University, Robert Bosch GmbH, Parma University and Oxford University.