Volkswagen has revealed details of a futuristic carpark that sees cars parking and recharging themselves (if required) upon settling into a space.
Called ‘V-Charge’, the technology is said to be easily adaptable for existing carparks and could serve as the valet parking system of the future.
V-Charge was born out of a research project for the European Union, consisting of six partners working together to develop self-driven parking technology.
While autonomous vehicles are well on their way to becoming market-ready (depending on who you ask), wireless charging technology is yet to be offered as the primary source of battery energy renewal by any of the world’s leading EV-makers.
V-Charge has concentrated on this aspect of the carpark of tomorrow, seeing EVs park themselves over a recharging pad that automatically begins charging as the vehicle arrives.
Once charging is complete, the autonomous EV will exit the charge-point and autonomously find a conventional parking space. Thus freeing up the charging pad for the next EV as it arrives; thirsty for some electricity.
This autonomous process reduces costs and ensures maximum efficiency for the V-Charge system.
A smartphone app forms part of the V-Charge experience, ensuring owners don’t waste a single second. Upon return to their cars, they'll find them ready to go and waiting to meet them at the entrance to the carpark.
V-Charge is not just the domain of cars, with the autonomous driving technology programed to recognise cyclists and pedestrians to allow riders to also store their bicycles at the V-Charge facility.
Volkswagen’s chosen test vehicle for the V-Charge system is a modified e-Golf hatch, fitted with four wide-angle cameras and a pair of 3D cameras to enable autonomous operation.
The e-Golf also has 12 ultrasound sensors, and the latest versions of Volkswagen’s inter-vehicle and infrastructure (v2v and v2i) technology.
Besides Volkswagen, partners in the program include the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Braunschweig Technical University and Bosch, along with the Parma and Oxford Universities.
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