In the near future, your car will handle the complex parking — even without you in it.
Auto-parts-maker Bosch demonstrated its latest partially automated driverless car system in Farmington Hills, Michigan last week. It’s called “home zone park assist” and Bosch expects the tech to make a North American debut in a production car in 2019.
Unlike rudimentary auto-park systems currently on the market like Tesla’s Summon, Bosch’s home zone can handle up to 100 complex parking maneuvers.
In order to use home zone, the driver first sets a start point with their smartphone. He or she then drives the route manually at a walking pace. After that first demonstration, the system memorizes the route.
It doesn’t just simply blindly follow a route, however. Home zone utilizes 12 ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear bumpers, plus stereo video cameras mounted near the rear-view mirror. Should the cameras be blocked by anything, home zone will instead rely on the four radar sensors embedded at each corner of the vehicle.
Taking into account the information gathered by these sensors as well as the mapped route, home zone can autonomously avoid obstacles in its path, like a garbage can left in the driveway. If it senses it can safely complete the route while also avoiding these obstacles, it will. Otherwise, it will simply come to a stop and alert the human driver.
Also, should the driver not initiate home zone in the exact memorized start position, that’s no problem. Nor does it matter if the driver didn’t set a perfect end position either. Home zone can deviate by up to 6-and-a-half feet when planning its route.
Granted, this system might only seem questionably useful for most drivers. I mean, who can’t just drive their own car in and out of their garage? That said, home zone serves a greater purpose than simply pulling your car out onto the street in the mornings.
First of all, it demonstrates a marked step from straight in-and-out automated parking in a relative short period of time toward full unplanned driverless parking. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, this system will serve as an indoctrinating gateway for drivers wary of self-driving technology. Or, at least, that’s the hope.
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