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 ")

Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters." - Jack Williamson, 1931.

Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.

Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'- Robert Heinlein, 1985.

 

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

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.'

LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'

Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

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.