According to an estimation done by Volkswagen, an average New York city resident spends over 100 hours every year looking for parking. And if you live in Delhi or Mumbai, you can do the Maths. The German marque, however, is working on the development of a system that would bring this time next to zero. Volkswagen announced a partnership with Hamburg Airport last week to begin testing of self-parking cars in an isolated section of the airport's car park. The brand promises to make the tech available in all of the lineups under the VW Group - Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, and others by 2020.
For now, Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen cars with the latest VW AI tech can be dropped off at the entrance of a car park. The cars will then navigate themselves to a vacant spot, using map data to navigate and spot “pictorial markers” for orientation using sensors. When drivers return, they message their car using an app, and their vehicle will navigate back to the entrance.
To avoid accidents during the trials, the Volkswagen test cars will be restricted to an isolated non-public section as they test out 'thousands of parking maneuvers'. However, in the second stage of trails, it will involve 'mixed traffic' testing where the cars will be allowed in the rest of the car park to see how they handle unpredictable cars and pedestrians.
Other brands like Jaguar, BMW, Nissan, and Ford have been working on self-parking technology for their cars. But this is the first public testing for Volkswagen, which has ambitious plans for its self-driving AI project.
Porsche electric or hybrid models at Hamburg Airport can now drive to charging stations, where the vehicle communicates with a 'charging robot' which then reaches out with an arm and power up the car until it’s at 100%. Then the Porsche will automatically head to a regular parking spot to free up charging space.