To save you time, Mercedes-Benz and Bosch debut world’s first L4 driverless valet parking

You will soon be able to drive up to a drop-off area, get out of your car, and send it to a pre-booked parking space just with a few taps on your smartphone, thanks to the latest SAE Level 4 (L4) autonomous driving technology from Mercedes-Benz and Bosch. The driverless valet parking will first start for commercial use at the autonomous P6 parking garage at Stuttgart Airport which is run by APCOA parking.

Mercedes-Benz and Bosch believe that with the vehicle and infrastructure taking over driving and manoeuvring, drivers will be able to turn their attention to other things, instead of time spent looking for a parking space and manoeuvring in tight parking garages.

Having been developed for a while, the L4 autonomous parking system by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch was first approved for use in 2019, but only for use at the Mercedes-Benz Museum for daily operations. Now, the L4 autonomous technology by the two German companies has been approved by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) for commercial use with privately owned vehicles at the Stuttgart Airport parking.

The autonomous technology in the Mercedes-Benz vehicle will convert the information received from the Bosh infrastructure into driving manoeuvres. This way, vehicles can even drive themselves up and down ramps to move between stories in the parking garage. If the infrastructure sensors detect an obstacle, the vehicle brakes and safely comes to a complete stop. Only once the route is clear does it continue on its way.

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The L4 driverless valet parking works with the help of intelligent infrastructure supplied by Bosch and Mercedes-Benz automotive technology. Bosch sensors are placed in the parking garage to monitor the driving corridor and its surroundings and provide the information needed to guide the vehicle.

Cars that will be able to use the autonomous parking feature at the Stuttgart Airport P6 parking garage are the Mercedes-Benz EQS and Mercedes-Benz S-Class (built since July 2022) that are equipped with the brand’s INTELLIGENT PARK PILOT2 service as part of the Mercedes me connect. With the service activated, users can book the parking space in advance via the Mercedes me app.

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The car is parked in the “With Reservation” drop-off area, not the final parking spot for the car. It will drive itself to the pre-booked parking spot when instructed. To the right is the “Waiting Area”.

Mercedes Benz Group Member of the Board of Management and Chief Technology Officer, Markus Schäfer said, “The world’s first approval for customer use of our highly automated and driverless parking function, developed together with our technology partner Bosch, shows that innovation leadership and ‘Made in Germany’ go hand in hand.”

“Following the market launch of our DRIVE PILOT Level 3 system, we will soon be offering a Level 4 system for parking with our INTELLIGENT PARK PILOT – all of that this year. We really are showing our customers how technology can make life easier and give back precious time,” he adds.

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L-R: Walter Schoefer, management spokesperson for Flughafen Stuttgart GmbH; Markus Schäfer, member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG; Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the Bosch board of management and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector; Niels Christ, Director Urban Hubs, APCOA Group

Bosch member of the board of management and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector, Dr. Markus Heyn said, “From the outset, Bosch has taken the approach of making the infrastructure in parking garages intelligent. Accordingly, we have set standards in this area. In the future, our aim is to equip more and more parking garages with the necessary infrastructure technology – we plan to do several hundred of them worldwide in the next few years.”

The basis for the approval is a law that came into force in Germany in July 2021, which permits driverless driving in accordance with SAE Level 4 for motor. Application of this law to the parking system was implemented in close coordination with the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) and the KBA. The AFGBV (autonomous driving directive), passed by the German Bundesrat on May 20, 2022, clearly specifies the criteria of the German road traffic act that Level 4 vehicles must satisfy.

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