Volvo autonomous parking demo - video screencap

A number of companies are developing autonomous vehicle technology – Google and Audi come to mind – but Volvo is applying its work in the area to a particular usage case: parking. The Swedish automaker has the technology up and running in a concept vehicle, which it says can be dropped off at the curb by its owner and left to its own devices to enter and navigate a car park, then find and park in an available parking spot. Volvo says the process can even be reversed when the owner is ready to go, with the car leaving the car park on its own to meet its key-holder again at the curb.

The vehicle first interacts with Vehicle 2 Infrastructure technology, which places transmitters in the road itself to inform the car (and driver) if the self-parking service is available. The driver then hops out, activates the Self Parking function on his or her smartphone and then leaves the car to do its work. The car uses sensors, all seemingly hidden from view (an advancement of its own in this field), to autonomously navigate the car park, which includes interacting and adjusting to other cars, people and objects.

The technology used here builds off of Volvo’s other work in autonomous vehicle research, namely the Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) project in which the company managed to create a train of four cars autonomously following a lead truck at speeds up 56 miles per hour. Volvo says the first application of its autonomous research in a production vehicle will happen at the end of 2014 with some level of autonomous steering available in the next-generation XC90. See the system in action by watching the video below.

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Volvo's Self-Parking Autonomous Car Concept

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Volvo Autonomous Self-Parking Car Animation

By John Neff