The Future Mercedes S-Class Will Be Its Own Valet!

Its Bosch-developed Automated Valet Parking feature exhibits SAE Level 4 autonomy

  • The autonomous parking feature is operated by a phone app.
  • It will allow Mercedes cars to find their own spaces in parking lots, avoiding obstacles and collisions.
  • The car can be summoned by the user, and it will drive to their location to pick them up.
  • Daimler claims to have obtained approval for the autonomous tech.

Daimler Group has revealed the Automated Valet Parking feature for Mercedes-Benz cars in a tweet. This Bosch-built feature will allow Mercedes cars to find their own way into parking spaces after dropping off their passengers. A smartphone app will let users summon their car, after which the car will autonomously drive itself out of the parking lot and to the user’s location.

Daimler says that the new system is Level 4 autonomous based on the Society of Automotive Engineers’ guidelines. According to SAE, Level 4 will allow the car to drive itself under specific conditions (in this case, a parking lot). The difference between Level 3 and Level 4 is that the latter will not ask you to take control of the car.

Currently, the Audi A8 has the most advanced self-driving tech, and that’s at Level 3. Mercedes is likely to play it safe by keeping this fully autonomous feature within the confines of a parking lot. However, the S-Class testbed seems capable of detecting other vehicles and people in its path and is likely to have more advanced driver assistance systems for use on regular roads.

Mercedes isn’t alone in the race toward Level 4 autonomy. Carmakers such as Kia and Hyundai are working on purpose-built vehicles (PBV) which would ply as autonomous local taxis in the future. However, legislation around the world and the citizens themselves have not kept pace with the technology. Autonomous driving features are getting better at operating in the open world, but their slow integration is key to their adoption. For this reason, Mercedes is likely to market the Automated Valet Parking system and other autonomous tech as ‘driver assistance systems’.

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