Bosch and APCOA to expand automated valet parking service in Germany

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With automated valet parking recently approved for commercial use in the P6 parking garage at Stuttgart airport in Germany, Bosch and APCOA have announced that they will also install the technology in an additional 15 parking garages across the country.

Beginning in 2023, the partnership with expand the service, with cities such as Hamburg and Munich set to benefit from the infrastructure-based, automated and driverless SAE Level 4 parking service. The first step involves both Bosch and APCOA working to make up to four parking spaces per parking garage ready for automated valet parking.

The solution works by parking a vehicle in a handover zone near the entrance of the parking garage, with a smartphone app used to start the automated and driverless parking service. Bosch stereo cameras are the basis of the system; the cameras can identify empty parking spaces and monitor the driving area and its surroundings. This includes obstacles or pedestrians within the parking garages aisle. If an unexpected obstacle is detected, the vehicle will apply its brakes and safely come to a stop. Once the route is clear, the vehicle will continue.

All of the data generated by the Bosch stereo cameras is then fed into edge computers. Smart algorithms transmit the required driving maneuver to enable driverless parking. The solution relies on the smart technology installed in the parking garage, meaning the technical requirements of a vehicle can be kept to a minimum, enabling the automated and driverless valet parking service to be used by a wide range of vehicles.

“We will expand the number of such parking spaces based on the expected ramp-up of vehicles featuring automated valet parking. Our experience with charge spots for electric vehicles shows us how important it is for infrastructure growth to keep pace with the technology,” explained Dr Markus Heyn, member of the Bosch board of management and chairman of the mobility solutions business sector. “Together with our partner APCOA, we are now making sure that this will be the case for automated valet parking.”

In the future, Bosch’s modular system will be used to expand the number of parking spaces with the infrastructure technology to up to 200 parking bays at each of the new automated parking locations.

Having signed a master agreement, the duo has taken another step toward a worldwide launch, with plans to install the necessary infrastructure and service at hundreds of international parking garages.

“Germany is only the beginning – we’re expecting to soon be able to gradually roll out automated valet parking in other countries around the world as well, once the corresponding laws have been passed,” said Claudia Barthle, head of global software and service sales in the cross-domain computing solutions division at Bosch, and is also responsible for the APCOA partnership.

“With the automated valet parking solution, we can offer our parking customers a whole new level of convenience,” said Frank van der Sant, a member of the board of management and chief commercial officer of APCOA Parking Group. “This function is especially advantageous at locations where time is an issue, such as airports, concert halls, event locations and trade fair locations. In other words, our location at Stuttgart airport is only the beginning.”

Germany is one of the first few countries to have already passed the Level 4 legislation which creates a framework for systems such as automated valet parking. Additional parking garages are expected to follow across Europe.

To read more on this subject, see our exclusive feature on automated valet parking in the September 2022 issue of ADAS & Autonomous Vehicle International, here

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After spending six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum joined UKi Media & Events in February 2020 as an assistant editor. In this role he uses his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKi Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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