Volkswagen Group tests autonomous parking in Hamburg

By JAY WONG | 16 April 2018

WOLFSBURG (Germany): The Volkswagen Group is currently testing its autonomous parking system at Hamburg Airport where Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles can navigate their way to a parking spot based on a multi-storey car park map.

The vehicle's orientation is provided by simple pictorial markers installed in the multi-storey car park and can also be used in essentially any selected car parks from 2028 onward.

“Autonomous parking can make an important contribution to creating convenient, stress-free mobility for our customers. We therefore want to democratise the technology and make it accessible to as many people as possible,” said Volkswagen Group chief digital officer Johann Jungwirth.

The autonomous parking function being publicly demonstrated for the first time in Hamburg has already left the research lab and is currently at an advanced stage of development.

In the first stage it will be possible to use autonomous parking in selected multi-storey car parks in an exclusive traffic flow - meaning it won't be accessible to people.

Before going into operation, the system is being extensively tested with thousands of parking simulations performed and analysed with regards to procedures in different places around the world.

The next stage will be operation in mixed traffic, i.e. vehicles parking and moving autonomously in the same areas of the car park as cars with drivers. And the vision is clear: to have vehicles parking autonomously in all car parks, including public ones, such as outside supermarkets.

There are good reasons for gradually introducing autonomous driving functions: "What we offer our customers works absolutely reliably and safely. This is what today's technology for vehicles from the Volkswagen Group stands for, and we will continue to keep this promise – also in the era of autonomous driving," said Johann Jungwirth.

The vehicles with the autonomous parking function will all be equipped with an active surroundings recognition system enabling it to recognise objects and react accordingly by going around them, braking or completely stopping.

Vehicles are equipped for this with a sensor set, such as ultrasound, radar and cameras and the data is processed in a central control unit within the car.

In the multi-storey car park, the car uses map data to drive on its own accord to a vacant parking spot via simple pictorial markers.

The test is a joint undertaking of Volkswagen Group's three brands, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and Hamburg Airport.