BMW Working on Level 4 Automated Parking Tech Which Mercedes Has Been Developing for Years

How would you feel about skipping parking altogether? You get to your destination, exit your car, and then the car will take care of the rest. Well, that’s exactly what BMW is working on right now. The carmaker has just announced a strategic collaboration with Valeo that aims to develop a next-gen Level 4 automated parking tech.
BMW and Valeo - Automated Valet Parking 14 photos
Photo: BMW
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The partnership between the two brands isn’t new – they have also been collaborating on the ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance System) domain controller, as well as sensors and software for parking and maneuvering in BMW’s upcoming generation of vehicles, “Neue Klasse.”

Both companies signed an agreement to create a high-end parking user experience for customers on parking facilities and private grounds. The technology will come with functions ranging from Automated Maneuver Assistance to Level 4 Automated Valet Parking (no supervision needed by the driver). Furthermore, BMW and Valeo are also coming up with infrastructure-based services to enable fully automated parking and charging in public parking facilities and sites.

Mercedes announced late last year that its Level 4 self-parking features would first become available to the public in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS, although admittedly only at the airport in Stuttgart, Germany, with a more extensive release in the works. Consequently, BMW has now announced its own plans, as the fight for driving automation keeps going, although Mercedes-Benz definitely has the upper edge, since it started working on the Level 4 systems back in 2017, in partnership with Bosch.

The current automated parking software was released in the BMW iX in 2021 and will serve as a basis for the development of future software functions. The next generation will feature a powerful computing platform that will host the jointly developed algorithms.

Marc Vrecko, the President of Valeo’s Comfort and Driving Assistance Systems Business Group, said that other automakers will be able to join the platform and that BMW is yet again setting the standard for the most intuitive and pleasant user experience.

So, what is Automated Valet Parking (AVP), and how does it actually work? Let’s say you drive to a drop-off zone. Leave the car, and the vehicle will take over tasks. It will look for a parking spot and maneuver itself in and out of it. Moreover, it can even drive back to a pick-up zone, where it will be ready to go as soon as you hop inside.

You will be able to opt for additional services like fully automated charging or fully automated washing to make full use of the parking time. I’ll be honest, the idea of the car charging itself while you’re at work, then returning for pick-up, is pretty attractive. However, it sounds like a challenging feat, especially when it comes to infrastructure, although we shouldn't underestimate the power of today's technology.

According to a draft of a future ISO standard, two main categories have been devised regarding Automated Valet Parking solutions: Type 1 and Type 2 systems. The required technologies for a Type 1 system, including computing units, sensors, and algorithms, operate on the vehicle. On the other hand, the necessary tech, including the AVP management system and the sensors, are fitted in the relevant infrastructure.

The collaboration between BMW and Valeo supports both AVP types. The two companies have teamed up to develop cutting-edge Level 4 parking experiences that reflect customers’ needs.
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About the author: Mircea Mazuru
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Starting out with a motorcycle permit just because he could get one two years earlier than a driver's license, Mircea keeps his passion for bikes (motor or no motor) alive to this day. His lifelong dream is to build his own custom camper van.
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