KBA grants approval: Mercedes can park without a driver according to Level 4 in Stuttgart

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Following a special permit for the parking garage of the Mercedes-Benz Museum, Bosch and Mercedes have now been approved by the Federal Motor Transport Authority for series operation of fully automated parking according to SAE Level 4 in parking garage P6 at the airport received Stuttgart. The car will be parked at the entrance and will park itself.

With so-called Automated Valet Parking (AVP), the driver drives the car into the car park, parks the vehicle in a drop-off zone and hands it over to the car park via app, which in turn communicates with the car via the technology installed there and fully automated and driverless to a parking space. In the opposite direction, the car can be picked up again in a pick-up zone after the car has also driven fully automatically according to SAE Level 4 from the parking lot to handover to the owner.

Driverless parking at Stuttgart Airport

Since 2019, these parking processes have been possible with a special permit for development vehicles in the multi-storey car park of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, although the first tests began in 2017. Now, however, the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has given its approval for the first time to implement automated valet parking worldwide to enable the first series operation with regular end-user vehicles, which will be able to use the service “soon” in the APCOA-operated P6 car park at Stuttgart Airport.

Intelligent Park Pilot effectively costs 3,272.50 euros

For this to work, the vehicle, which currently has to be an S-Class (short or long) or an EQS, but not an AMG or Maybach model, must be pre-equipped with the Intelligent Park Pilot. Although this is basically offered free of charge by Mercedes-Benz, it has certain dependencies such as the parking package with remote parking functions for 1,844.50 euros and Keyless-Go with flush door handles for 1,428.00 euros, so that the total costs using the example of an S 350 d sedan are effectively 3,272.50 euros.

In detail, Mercedes-Benz initially wants to offer the service for the S-Class and the EQS from the production date of July 2022. The S-Class with a production date from 12.2020 should follow promptly, the same applies to the EQS with a production date from 04.2021. In addition, the small print states that as soon as the Intelligent Park Pilot is available for the respective vehicle, the service will appear in the service management of the Mercedes me app and will be ready for activation. To use the app, a Mercedes-me-ID is required, as well as acceptance of the terms of use for the Mercedes-me-connect services, and the respective vehicle must be linked to the user account. “After the initial term has expired, the services can be extended for a fee,” says the manufacturer, but the exact costs per year or month are not yet known.

This is how fully automated parking works

For fully automated parking, a parking space must be reserved in advance using the Mercedes me app. Arriving at the multi-storey car park, the vehicle can be parked in the drop-off area and the parking process can be started in the Mercedes me app after all occupants have got out. The parking system checks whether the route to the booked parking space is free and whether all other technical requirements are met. If this is the case, the app confirms that the vehicle has been taken over by the intelligent infrastructure and the driver can leave the car park. The sensors in the parking garage that monitor the driving corridor and its surroundings and provide the information for the controller come from Bosch. The car converts the information from the infrastructure into driving manoeuvres. In this way, the cars should also be able to drive up and down ramps independently and change floors within the car park.

The role that 5G standalone with network slicing can play in automated valet parking, Telekom, BMW, Valeo, Ericsson and Qualcomm recently demonstrated in Berlin.