Owners of the Mercedes S-Class and its all-electric counterpart, the EQS, will soon be able to step out of their car at the entrance of the P6 parking garage at Stuttgart airport, and let their car park itself.
Mercedes announced today that it has become the first automaker in the world to have its Level 4 automated parking function officially approved for public use by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). Now it plans to start adding the function to more parking garages around the country.
“The world’s first approval for customer use of our highly automated and driverless parking function, developed together with our technology partner Bosch, shows that innovation leadership and ‘Made in Germany’ go hand in hand,” says Markus Schäfer, Mercedes’ chief technology officer. “We really are showing our customers how technology can make life easier and give back precious time.”
Read: Mercedes’ Automated Valet Parking System Allows Cars To Park Themselves
The service is available on S-Classes and EQSs built after July 2022, equipped with Intelligent Park Pilot2. All the driver has to do is use their smartphone to pick a spot in the garage, wait for the app to confirm, and let the car drive away. When they want their car back, they can beckon it with the same app and meet it at a pre-determined location.
The system depends not only on technology embedded within the vehicle, but on intelligent infrastructure installed in the parking garage by Bosch. While the car monitors its immediate surroundings, the infrastructure ensures that the path is safe in the rest of the garage.
“Driverless parking is a key aspect of automated mobility,” said Dr. Markus Heyn, Bosch’s head of mobility. “It will be with driverless parking that everyday automated driving will start.”
Long time readers may remember that Mercedes (among others) already had automated valet parking at the Stuttgart airport in 2019. That operation was more limited, however, and this new approval from the KBA allows for the commercial operation to interact with privately owned vehicles thanks to a German law that was introduced in 2021, laying out the approval process for getting level 4 automated vehicles on the road.
The companies say that they now plan to expand the service beyond the Stuttgart airport’s P6 parking garage. In addition to preparing more parking garages in Germany for the service, Bosch and Mercedes hope to roll the system out to hundreds of lots around the world in the next few years.