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 ")

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1976.

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...' - James Blish, 1957.

InMotion Glide 3 Electric Unicycle For The Last Mile
'...gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.

 

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

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'

Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

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.