Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, and Bosch, a global auto supplier, received approval from local authorities in Stuttgart, Germany, to test an autonomous parking valet system, the companies announced on Tuesday.
The testing will take place in the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage, which has been fitted with sensors to guide and monitor the vehicles as they park themselves autonomously. A car owner simply taps an app to send their vehicle away to its parking space, and summoning the car back is just as simple. No human driver is needed, the companies claim.
One aspect of the pilot project involved testing lighting concepts on the vehicles. Turquoise lighting was used to indicate that a vehicle was in automated driving mode as a way to inform passers-by and other road users that the vehicle was driving itself.
The garage’s intelligent system will handle the parking logistics, and the car’s suite of sensors and cameras will remain on the lookout for crossing pedestrians or other obstacles along the way. It will be the first fully automated driverless system (categorized as “Level 4” automation), which has been approved for everyday use, the companies said.
A special permit was issued by Stuttgart’s regional administrative authority following an assessment by German technical inspection service TÜV Rheinland, the companies said. Daimler and Bosch have been working together on an autonomous parking valet system since 2015.
Daimler and Bosch aren’t the only companies working on driverless parking features. Earlier this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company was planning to imminently roll out its automated parking feature known as “Enhanced Summon.” This is meant to build of Tesla’s previous, app-based “Summon” feature, which can be used by owners to move their cars autonomously for a few feet in their driveway or in tight parking situations.