We've all been through the hassle of winding around tight parking garages, narrowly missing other cars and columns through the hairpin turns. Some days, you just don't have the time to scour multiple floors for somewhere to park, only for a truck to be parked next to the only open compact spot. Bosch teamed up with Mercedes to eliminate this headache for drivers of the S-Class and EQS with the Intelligent Park Pilot. This automated valet parking solution allows drivers to drop their cars off at the entrance of a parking garage and Bosch will do the rest. Yes, the garage will literally park the car itself.
All the driver has to do is activate the process through their Mercedes mobile app. They can hop out at the entrance and go about their day. Meanwhile, the system will start and take control of the car. An elaborate series of Bosch stereo cameras mounted to the ceiling relays a complete panoramic view of the garage to guide the car to its assigned open spot.
When a driver is ready to claim their car and get on their way, all they have to do is wait by the entrance and call the car from the Mercedes app. The car will be guided back out of the garage and return to the spot it was left. The cameras required are not cheap and more than one are needed per parking spot, but they can be easily installed into new and existing buildings. Mercedes has hopes to expand the technology to other car models, while Bosch says the same system could one day be applied to any car with modern outfitting.
But the use cases don't end with public parking. This technology could solve a whole host of other public transit headaches, as well as streamline car-centric businesses. When it comes to charging spaces for electric cars, this technology could solve the congestion caused by cars that have reached a full charge but whose owners haven't returned yet. This system could shuffle these cars to regular spots and bring in cars ready to charge. For car manufacturers, this technology could hasten the assembly process by moving cars off the production line automatically, eliminating the need for a worker to do this manually. And finally, for rental car agencies, this could streamline the process of accepting returned cars by automatically moving them through the carwash and back to their assigned spot in the lot.
Some might say it's not a necessity, but can we honestly say that we'd be sad if we didn't have to look for parking ever again? Besides, it sounds like the technology that Bosch and Mercedes have spearheaded could be used to make a lot of other tasks easier for consumers and businesses alike. The Intelligent Park Pilot is currently in use at Stuttgart airport with a potential new location in downtown Los Angeles but it sounds like we should expect to see much more from this system in the future.