Volkswagen aspiring to become leaders in automated parking
Volkswagen is pushing the development of 'V-charge', an EU research project into the automated parking and electric charging of vehicles.
Six national and international partners are jointly developing the new technologies that will allow cars to automatically look for an empty parking space in multi-storey carparks for example - with a charging infrastructure and then proceed to inductively charge its battery. After the vehicle has finished charging it will automatically relocate to a conventional parking space in order to free up the charging bay for another electric vehicle.
'V-charge' stands for Valet charge, and inspiration has been drawn from traditional valet parking where you pull up to your destination and valet service personnel proceed to park it for you, thus avoiding wasting time searching for a parking space.
Whilst 'V-charge' is only a concept at the moment, a number of scenarios in which it could be advantageous have been detailed. For example, a commuter running late for work would be able to pull up in the car park and exit the car, allowing it to park itself. He would be able to connect his smartphone to the cars computer system in order to keep track of its whereabouts and summon it to collect him from the drop-off point.
The vehicle will have a digital map relayed to it and will autonomously navigate to an empty parking space, prioritizing a parking bay with an automatic charging facility in the case of electric cars.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and Braunschweig Technical University have been working on the autonomous technology to enable this concept to become a reality.
by: Laura Thomson