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AI Transportation Technology

A German Parking Garage Parks Your Car For You 131

moon_unit2 writes "Tech Review has a story about a garage in Ingolstadt, Germany, where the cars park themselves. The garage is an experiment set up by Audi to explore ways that autonomous technology might practically be introduced; most of the sensor technology is built into the garage and relayed to the cars rather than inside the cars themselves. It seems that carmakers see the technology progressing in a slightly different way to Google, with its fleet of self-driving Prius. From the piece: 'It's actually going to take a while before you get a really, fully autonomous car,' says Annie Lien, a senior engineer at the Electronics Research Lab, a shared facility for Audi, Volkswagen, and other Volkswagen Group brands in Belmont, California, near Silicon Valley. 'People are surprised when I tell them that you're not going to get a car that drives you from A to B, or door to door, in the next 10 years.'"
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A German Parking Garage Parks Your Car For You

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    In former German Democratic Republic, car parked YOU!

    • In the Southern US, we say "Pri-ya'll".

    • by Anonymous Coward

      According to Wikipedia, Prius derives from Latin. Typically, this would mean it is pluralized as Prii, though prius itself as a word can not be pluralized in the original Latin.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Prius is both an adverb ("previously") and the neuter, singular, nominative form of an adjective ("previous, prior.") Declining the adjective starts with a stem from the masculine/feminine form (prior) and in the neuter, plural, nominative form would be priora. Nouns and pronouns that end in -us and decline to plural ending in -i are only for the second declension. There are many other -us words in the 3rd and fourth declension that do not result in -i plurals.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
  • by Anonymous Coward

    'People are surprised when I tell them that you're not going to get a car that drives you from A to B, or door to door, in the next 10 years.'

    Well certainly not with that attitude, lady. The tech has been available for some time, and legal in-roads have been paved for their use. Now someone just needs to step up to the plate. Thanks for announcing that that someone wont be you.

    • by Bigby ( 659157 )

      It is rather short-sighted and pessimistic for him to say. The technology is already there. The only things holding it back are intricate details and liability concerns. The latter being the bigger issue.

    • Re:Sheesh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gutnor ( 872759 ) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @12:06PM (#43303725)

      10 years is the time it takes to bring a technology that is fully available now to mass production. Nothing to do with optimism or not, it takes several years to design and produce an incremental upgrade on existing cars.

      Just have a look at electric car and a modern company like Tesla. They announced their first car in 2006. Produced it in 2008, upgrade it to something slightly more usable by Joe User in 2012. If they keep it up at the same rhythm they could maybe have a real mass production (i.e. with the problem of the masses fixed) model in 2016. 10 years.

      Same thing here, you will get more and more automated car (there are car that park themselves, and can drive on the highway available now), but for a mass market, robotic taxi, 10 years does not seem so pessimistic.

    • Re:Sheesh (Score:4, Informative)

      by lennier1 ( 264730 ) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @12:15PM (#43303817)

      The topic probably would've made more sense if the bullshit summary had actually contained a video of the experimental system: []

    • 'People are surprised when I tell them that you're not going to get a car that drives you from A to B, or door to door, in the next 10 years.'

      'People are surprised when I tell them that you're not going to get a car that flies you from A to B, or door to door, in the next 100 years.'

  • Self Parking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @11:14AM (#43303223) Journal

    While it's a neat idea for a self parking garage. I saw a concept(?) previously where you drive your car into a "single car container" and when you left, your car in it's container would be shuttled off to a compact/secure storage array like a tape in a server room storage rack. Even though it requires more track and sensors, that system seems to be more realistic than a system that requires every car be programmed to understand the signals being broadcast by the garage.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      wikipedia says: []

      The earliest use of an APS was in Paris, France in 1905 at the Garage Rue de Ponthieu.[2] The APS consisted of a groundbreaking[2] multi-story concrete structure with an internal elevator to transport cars to upper levels where attendants parked the cars.[3]

      In the 1920s, a Ferris wheel-like APS (for cars rather than people) called a paternoster system became popular as it could park eight cars in the ground space normally used for parking two cars.[3] Mechanically simple with a small footprin

    • There are plenty of automatic parking garages: []

      • I can't believe I'm going to do this; I deserve copius down votes...

        In Soviet Russia, car parks YOU.

        Ok, let the hate begin...
    • Actually Volkswagen has had one similar [] for a few years now.
    • that system seems to be more realistic than a system that requires every car be programmed to understand the signals being broadcast by the garage.

      Yeah, after all.. look at the problems we had getting all the cell phones to work on the same systems. And getting all our appliances on the same voltage and frequency standard. And getting all modems and routers and switches to communicate...

      Oh. Wait.

      Seriously, you miss that there's a transitional form - where autonomous cars are parked autom

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      They have those in Japan, but they are more like giant rotisseries and the cars only sit on skiis, not in crates. They work pretty well.

  • People are surprised when I tell them that you're not going to get a car that drives you from A to B, or door to door, in the next 10 years.

    Oh really now?

    Google has already been testing the cars on the road in Nevada, which passed a law last year authorizing driverless vehicles. Both Nevada and California require the cars to have a human behind the wheel who can take control of the vehicle at any time. So far, the cars have have racked up more than 300,000 driving miles, and 50,000 of those miles were without any intervention from the human drivers, Google says.

    Source dated Tue October 30, 2012 []

    Someone's a touch behind...

    • Re:Uh-huh. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @12:13PM (#43303791)

      Last summer I was in New England. A buddy and I were driving down the interstate and I wanted to stop at a pharmacy and get some antacids. We had the GPS unit find the nearest pharmacy and it began directing us to a CVS just two miles away. The unit kept telling us that we were getting closer, but I didn't see any exits. Just before we crossed an overpass the GPS announced, "Your destination is on the right." Sure enough, I looked down and there was the CVS -- forty feet below us.

      I have often wondered how a driverless car would handle that situation.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Which is exactly why self-driving cars won't be powered by Apple Maps.
      • Ok, I've heard of these stories, but I've never had my GPS unit (which is my phone) steer me wrong. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but I seriously have to wonder HOW often. If it happened often enough you'd think that the units wouldn't be marketable, and they clearly are.
        • It happened to me when a POI was on the front door of a store, and the nearest road was an expressway. The solution is either to map the parking aisles or to put the POI on the entrance to the car park.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        Autonomous cars don't just rely on GPS, so it would see there is no exit lane and probably ask you for navigational assistance.

        This sort of thing us not a big problem now thanks to street level cameras like Google uses. Nokia have them as well apparently. The difference in accuracy between Google/Nokia and say TomTom is huge, as Apple discovered.

    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      Google has been making these claims for quite a while, but refuses any independent test that could back them up. For a company notorious for putting out products at a "public beta" stage, they certainly take their time with technology they claim to be having for years.

  • Fahrvergnügen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @11:25AM (#43303315)

    The Germans love driving. They love driving fast. I can see why it is set up so that "the first self-driving vehicles will perform only specific tasks." To numerous of them driving isn't just something to get from point A to point B. Which is why most German cars didn't have cupholders, etc that American cars did back in the 80s.

    I was recently working in Germany and a coworker mentioned that some lawmakers want to put a speed limit but there is heavy, heavy resistance funded in part by VAG and Benz. He likened it to America's gun culture. and with that analogy some of the stuff some of our gun rights advocates say makes sense to them. (Not all of it, some of it is crazy rhetoric.) You don't touch Germans' driving/cars and you don't touch Americans' guns.

    • The Germans love driving. They love driving fast.

      I have difficulty reconciling my wife's crumbling New Beetle with both of these ideas.

  • If it were up to VW, no advanced technology would ever be ready for the showroom. The company likes to tinker around the edges of existing technology and charge huge amounts of money for it. And Germany isn't going to allow anything that new-fangled on its roads anyway.

    True innovation will have to come from other companies in other countries. There are easy ways of getting useful self-driving tech into cars right now, with little of the complications of Google, no laser 3D scanners, and little risk. All it

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Your arms hang limp at your sides...

  • Working as the parking valet is one of the last few part time jobs still left in the great land of USA. Now even that is in peril. The gas stations are fully automatic now. So are most parking garages. There are very very few jobs available for low skilled people. We keep telling poor people, "You are poor because you are not willing to pull yourself up with your bootstraps and find a job", and at the same time we keep cutting social programs, and invest more and more on taking even the last few jobs away.
    • This is the most fundamental of economic arguments, and why "King Lud" smashed the looms and formed the luddite anti-technology movement. You are thinking about the low-wage jobs that are lost, but completely ignoring that the same parking garage will now need to hire a high-wage computer technician to manage the system and keep it running.
      • So all these fired valets go back to school and earn a degree in electronics and communications? We need to leave a few jobs for the people with low skills and low motivation. It would cost the society more, when these hungry despo people fall into crime or become homeless.
        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          People who need charity should get charity, not anything else that hides the fact that they're getting charity.

  • Manual : Those that can drive a real car
    Automatic : Those that can drive a real car but don't understand how it works
    And Self-Drive : Those that should have taken the train; and should not be allowed on the road without all of their assists.

    Obviously the latter fits in with the two former; modern driving aids like auto park, lane detection, radar follow and brake - even ABS and ESP mean that really, if that's all you have ever driven, you should not simply be allowed on the streets, with me and my kids
    • And that is fine. Most people drive a car because they want to get somewhere.
      Do you really think there were much more capable drivers before ESP and ABS? Of course not, most people don't really care for driving, they just want to get where they are going. If you don't really care for it then you'll never get good in the edge cases, where ABS and ESP help a lot.
      Most people will never respect the fact that they are using a 1000 kg killing machine to get from A to B. Technology can, should and is used to h
      • in the UK if you pass your test on an automatic you aren't allowed to drive a manual
        My point was that with all the techno wizardry, if you pass your test on a self parking, self lane following, self braking, self radar guided cruise control car, then you shouldn't be allowed to drive anything more simple.
  • >> Annie Lien, a senior engineer...near Silicon Valley. 'People are surprised when I tell them that you're not going to get a car that drives you from A to B, or door to door, in the next 10 years.'"

    Are you sure that the smartest people live in the Valley?

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @12:33PM (#43304005) Homepage

    Back in my DARPA Grand Challenge days, I saw fully automated parking as the first "killer app" for automated driving. Everybody was obsessed with automated freeway driving, but that's not what annoys people. Looking for parking annoys people. The general idea is that you get out of your car at your destination, and it goes and parks itself somewhere. When you want your car back, you call it and it comes to you. Parking then need not be as close to the destination; a big parking garage a mile away is fine.

    The first application of this should have been for airport rental cars. You rent the car via your phone, and the car comes to the loading area near baggage claim and picks you up. When you're done with the car and at the airport, you get out at the departure area, and it drives itself to rental car return. Customers would save an hour on every plane trip. That would sell.

    It's workable. At no time is autonomous operation above about 20MPH necessary, which means slamming on the brakes is sufficient to deal with most problems. All the rental cars are new and under common ownership and maintenance, so the self-driving systems can be checked out on every rental. The system could be expanded to include the top 10 destinations for rental cars - major hotels, convention centers, etc.

    After 9/11, no way would autonomous vehicles be allowed in an airport terminal area. So that didn't look promising back in the mid-2000s. Today, though, with terrorism down to nuisance levels, it's worth looking at again.

    As for VW thinking that automated driving is more than a decade away, both Ford and Mercedes have said they expect to have it in production vehicles in five years.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Terrorism has, speaking from a public health and epidemiological standpoint, always been at nuisance levels.

    • "Five years" is code for "We have no idea when this will be ready; possibly in your lifetime, but not likely"
  • With sensor located in the garage and sending data to the car, anyone could temper with the data sent with some appropriate knowledge and tools and giving the car bad directions and instructions. "Yeah, yeah, go ahead, there's no problem, nope, there's no pillar there at all."
    • by afidel ( 530433 )

      It's easy to augment the data with onboard sensors, my moms Chrysler minivan already has radar for blindspot detection and the backup system detects the space through video analysis and overlays the vehicles footprint on the space so you can see if you'll fit, it's hardly a leap to integrate those two sensors into the self parking system.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?