Approximately 13 percent of auto accidents occur in parking lots, according to Nationwide Insurance claims data. Parking can also be tedious, especially with cars with poor visibility with bumpers low to the ground or with blocked views.
Bosch announced Home zone, park assist, autonomous parking which is expected to make its North American market debut by 2019.
With Home zone park assist, drivers will control the parking process by smartphone, even from outside the vehicle. The technology will guide the car, autonomously if needed, to parking spaces up to 100 meters away, where it then maneuvers the car into the space.
Drivers can train Bosch’s Home zone park assist themselves. Home zone park assist is a partially automated function that still requires some monitoring by the driver. It was designed for repeated parking maneuvers – for example, at home or into an assigned parking garage space. The unique aspect about the technology is that Home zone park assist learns and saves individual driving maneuvers. Once it does so, it will perform them independently; all the driver has to do is press a button.
Teaching parking maneuvers is simple as the Bosch system has to be instructed only once. The driver activates the assistant’s learning function when the car is in the desired starting position. Then, they drive the car slowly (walking pace) to a parking space no more than 100 meters away in a trial run. The system saves the starting position, destination and the route driven between them. From then on, Home zone park assist can take over parking the car from the defined starting position. Drivers can choose to remain inside the car or to control the process from outside, either using a dead man’s switch on the ignition key or via smartphone. The Bosch system is capable of learning and retrieving up to 10 different driving maneuvers for repeated parking situations.
A total of 12 ultrasonic sensors installed in the front and rear bumpers plus a stereo video camera mounted near the rear-view mirror all contribute to the parking functions. Instead of the stereo video camera, Home Zone park assist can use four radar sensors, one on each corner of the vehicle. The sensors are used for oriention for the drive to and into the parking space. It also can recall any objects noted during the trial run, such as posts or trees. The system is constantly comparing the position of the car with the stored position of objects in the vehicle’s surroundings. If the sensors detect an unknown static obstacle such as a garbage can left in the car’s path, the car automatically stops. If the obstacle can be avoided by deviating slightly from the preset route, the car will steer independently around it.
While parking, the Bosch Home zone park assist system also automatically corrects for inaccuracies. Even if the driver has not left the car precisely at the saved starting position before activating Home zone park assist, the system can still maneuver effortlessly. It also is not a problem if the driver parked the car incorrectly at the end of the trial run. The reason is that the Home zone park assist technology can correct for deviations of up to six-and-a-half feet when planning its route.
If the vehicle’s surround sensors detect a static obstacle in its path, the system applies the brakes. If only a minor course adjustment is called for, the system can even drive around the obstacle. All the driver needs to do is monitor the vehicle’s movement, which can be halted by the driver at any time.
In addition, Home zone park assist also is capable of pulling out of a parking space by itself. At the touch of a button on a smartphone or key fob, the system brings the car automatically to the defined starting position, so that the driver can simply step in and drive off. This saves the driver from having to squeeze in or out of the vehicle when it is parked in a tight space.