VW demonstrates ‘driverless valet’ for electric cars

A European consortium including Volkswagen and Bosch has demonstrated a self-parking system that enables an electric vehicle to autonomously find its way to a charging-enabled parking space

Recently demonstrated at VW’s Mobile Life Campus in Wolfsburg , Germany the system has been developed through the EU funded ‘V-Charge’ project, which is being led by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

The V-Charge technology enables an electric vehicle to autonomously find its way to a charging-enabled parking space
The V-Charge technology enables an electric vehicle to autonomously find its way to a charging-enabled parking space

Based on a Volkswagen eGolf1 the V-Charge test vehicle uses readily available sensor and camera technologies including four wide- angle cameras, two 3D cameras, and twelve ultrasound sensors to negotiate its way around a car-park, and locate a space where the vehicle can be inductively charge its battery.

During operation the vehicle uses a digital map of the car park to navigate around the car park, whilst local sensors alert the vehicle to vacant parking spaces.  Meanwhile, cameras and ultrasonic sensors on the car detect pedestrians and other vehicles, enabling the car to move in mixed traffic.

 

Once the system has detected a vacant space the autonomous parking manoeuvre positions the vehicle above the inductive charging spot.

Once the charging process is finished, the car automatically frees up the charging bay for another electric vehicle and looks for a conventional parking space.

The driver is then able to use a V-Charge app to call the vehicle back to a pre-defined pick-up location without setting foot in the car park.   

According to the V-Charge team, the technology differs from other automated parking concepts as it is not reliant on GPS, is underpinned by technology that is close to market, and can be used in a mixed-traffic scenario.