Autonomous Valet Parking By Volkswagen

An autonomous valet parking system was demonstrated last weekend by Volkswagen. A product of a partnership between Stanford University and the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory (VAIL), a modified Passat can drive into a parking lot, find the first available space and neatly back up, parking the car autonomously.


(Volkswagen's autonomous valet parking demonstration video)

The system uses mostly off-the-shelf parts, including a front radar (already available as part of an adaptive cruise control system) a camera mounted in front of the rear view mirror (also available equipment on Passats) and LIDAR units mounted on the sides.

So why aren't you seeing cars happily backing themselves in while being taunted by parking valet union members? A slight hitch - the car cannot discern "obstacles" like human beings.

Interestingly, VAIL envisions special parking garages for cars that can autonomously park themselves. Once left at a drop-off area, the car would proceed to a "cars only" part of the garage.

Cars that park themselves have a curious history in science fiction. Cars that can drive themselves on special highways (like the Heinlein's Camden speedster were not smart enough to park themselves. SF writers much more commonly wrote about automated parking garages.

In his 1941 novel Methuselah's Children, Robert Heinlein wrote about an automated parking garage called a robopark:

Outside her friend's apartment [Mary] dropped down a bounce tube to the basement, claimed her car from the robopark, guided it up the ramp...
(Read more about Heinlein's robopark)

Frank Herbert briefly refers to a robotic parking garage in his 1977 novel The Dosadi Experiment and identifies a key element that makes it work - namely, grapple tracks.

These parking garages are starting to appear; see Skypark Robotic Parking Garage and a fun home version, the PhantomPark Secret Agent Parking System.

Can you think of an example of a self-parking car in sf?

Via BotJunkie.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/26/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Vehicle ")

Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.' - Isaac Asimov, 1953.

U of M's MCity To Feature Asimov's Automatobuses
Should you turn autonomous buses off?

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'

HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'

A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?

Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'

PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'

Russian Space Garden
'We saw the gardens, flooded with artificial sunlight...'

Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'
'I know kung-fu.'

U of M's MCity To Feature Asimov's Automatobuses
Should you turn autonomous buses off?

Crazyflie Drone Swarm Technology
'...Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'

Our GodBot, Who Art In Cyberspace
Vaal hungers! We must serve him.

easyJet Short-Haul Electric Jets
Have a little faith, will you? They're working on it.

Meet Assist-e Honda's Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'

Kalashnikov's One-Seater Hovercraft
Not for windy days.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.