When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Germany

A Parallel Challenge: Teaching Self-Driving Cars To Park

Germany's Bosch and Daimler are teaming up to achieve a high level of success in autonomous parking, becoming the first to have a marketable system far from Silicon Valley.

Daimler-Mercedes Benz car parking on its own
Daimler-Mercedes Benz car parking on its own
Joachim Becker

-Analysis-

MUNICHMoon-bound rockets and driverless cars have plenty in common. For example, in the 1950s, American road cruisers looked like spaceships on wheels. Steep tailfins and stylized jet engines made the drivers dream of a better, accident-free future. The vision for a vehicle which can steer, brake and accelerate on its own fits in well with this optimistic view of the future. But it turned out that the design elements made for aviation are not quite right for cars. Ultimately it was easier to find a parking space on the Moon than to park autonomously in front of the local supermarket.

There are many reasons why adapting space technology to cars did not work. Among other things, there is no traffic on the way to the Moon. In driving school, we not only learn to master the technology but also (if possible) develop a seventh sense for other road users. Because people sometimes interpret the traffic rules a bit more freely, which can lead to complications well beyond the supermarket parking. Driving has a lot to do with communication and interaction. In the best case scenario, driving inspires a sort of swarm intelligence. In the worst case, we are in phantom jams that are created out of nothing and only arise because people react wrongly or not at all.

A technical feat that does not come from Silicon Valley

Worldwide, many automakers and tech companies are working on sending their driverless cars to a sort of driving school. Automaker Daimler and Bosch, one of the leading technology and services suppliers worldwide, have now applied an essential idea of ​​the moon landing to the road. They do like they do with the rocket ship, which receives radio support from the control center: they remotely lead the cars in the parking garage to a free space. The driverless cars act only seemingly autonomous; in fact, they are in a close network with the infrastructure. Because the "flight route" is precisely defined by a leading computer, dozens of unmanned cars can be in the car park at the same time. The passengers leave the car at the entrance of the parking garage and can worry about better things than parking bumpers.

Driving has a lot to do with communication and interaction.

The parking garage ballet takes place only at a walking pace. Nevertheless, it is a technical feat, because the system works so reliably that the regulatory authorities have given the go-ahead for driverless parking for the first time. Because the network technology works completely without human surveillance, it is relatively easy to transfer to other countries. While driverless taxis currently only work with security drivers in individual, well-defined areas, autonomous valet parking can be marketed quickly. For example, airports would no longer need to fill their best locations directly at the terminal with parking garages: Driverless parking also works over longer distances, as long as no other users cross the road.

An automated valet parking at Daimler — Photo: Daimler official website

It takes little imagination to envision fully automated container terminals at ports or truck depots. Bosch and Daimler have created precise automated parking because they are the first to have a marketable system that could become the norm for all other automakers. And it was created in a founder's garage, which was exceptionally not in Silicon Valley, but in Swabia. What follows are further discussions with the registration authorities in order to finally put highly automated driving on motorways using concrete licensing regulations. Although the driver remains behind the wheel as a controller, the comfort gained by these highway pilots could still be high.

In any case, the countdown to autonomous driving has begun. After millions of test kilometers and billions of dollars invested in autonomous driving, there is now a concrete, everyday business model. It is quite possible that driving robots will actually be as suitable for the masses in ten years, as many studies predict.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ