Volkswagen tests autonomous parking, aims for 2020 commercial launch

Volkswagen autonomous parking testThe Volkswagen Group is testing autonomous parking at Germany’s Hamburg Airport, using VW, Audi, and Porsche vehicles. The company hopes to get the system into production by 2020, and plans to offer a host of other services in concert with it.

Volkswagen claimed that German drivers spend an average of 41 hours a year looking for parking spaces, while in the United States New Yorkers alone spend an average 107 hours a year looking for parking. This burns more fuel and increases traffic congestion. Autonomous parking could also serve as a stepping stone to autonomous driving, VW noted.

In Hamburg, drivers drop cars off at a designated parking garage. Cars then drive themselves to parking spaces, using map data to find a route and markers on the walls to orient themselves. Volkswagen noted that the relatively low-tech markers can be added to virtually any garage, making it easy to enable autonomous parking. The automaker also believes autonomous parking can be integrated with other services.

Once a car is parked, VW wants delivery services to be able to leave packages in its trunk. Under a system already tested in Berlin, delivery services are provided with the car’s location and one-time access in order to pop the trunk and drop off packages. Future Audis may be able to drive themselves through car washes or gas stations while their owners are away, according to VW, while electric Porsches may drive themselves to charging stations.

This tech could make life more convenient but, in what is probably the right move given the current state of self-driving cars, Volkswagen will roll it out slowly. Initially, autonomous parking will only be available in designated parking garages where human and vehicle traffic are separated. If the system performs satisfactorily, autonomous cars will be allowed to operate in the same areas as cars driven by humans.

Parking may be an easier way to introduce autonomous-driving tech to the public. While some people might be uneasy about relinquishing driving duties, no one enjoys parking. The lower speeds involved when maneuvering through parking garages would also lessen the severity of any crashes. But as with other forms of automation, Volkswagen will likely face public skepticism and regulatory issues.

Product Review

If Huawei sells the Mate 20 Pro in the U.S., Samsung needs to watch its back

Huawei knocked it out of the park with the P20 Pro earlier this year, and it’s looking to do the same again with the Mate 20 Pro. The Mate series has traditionally been sold in the U.S., so will Americans finally be able to get a taste?
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk offers free rides through first Boring Company tunnel from December

Members of the public will soon get to find out if Elon Musk's high-speed tunnel plan is a serious effort at reducing traffic congestion or little more than a fancy theme park ride, with free rides being offered from December.
Smart Home

One in 10 smart home device owners report unresolved technical problems

According to a recent survey from Parks Associates, more than one in 10 consumers report they have experienced technical errors with their connected devices that have yet to be resolved.
Cars

Porsche’s all-electric Taycan sedan will cost less than a Panamera

Porsche's Mission E concept won't change much as it transitions to a production model named Taycan that's scheduled to arrive in 2019. That means the sedan will keep the sleek design and its 800-volt charging system.
Cars

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.
Cars

Tesla keeps promise with more affordable Model 3 with midrange battery pack

Tesla is keeping its promise of making the Model 3 gradually more affordable. The company released a new variant of the car with a mid-range, 260-mile battery option that's priced under the $50,000 mark.
Cars

Volvo plans to face the future without sacrificing its identity

Volvo is embarking on an ambitious push to fill its lineup with electric and hybrid cars, as well as an infotainment partnership with Google. Volvo Americas CEO Anders Gustafsson explains how the Swedish automaker plans to pull that off.
Cars

The snake escapes: Ford’s 700-hp Mustang GT500 slithers online ahead of schedule

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will return in 2019 with over 700 horsepower, Ford confirmed at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. The GT500 will be the most powerful Ford production car ever.
Cars

Volkswagen’s next-generation lights will keep you safer, look good doing it

Volkswagen's new smart LED headlights, called IQ.Light, don't just light up the road in front of you to keep you, other drivers, and pedestrians safe. They also look dang good while doing it.
Cars

Adventurous and electric, Porsche’s second electric car will fill a new niche

Porsche surprised us at the Geneva Auto Show with an electric station wagon named Mission E Cross Turismo. Though it's a concept car, it could become a production model after the Mission E sedan arrives in showrooms.
Cars

Mustang-like and electrified. What did Ford just show a preview of?

Ford briefly flashed an enigmatic new model in a minute-long commercial starring Bryan Cranston. Its front end borrows styling cues from the 2019 Mustang, but it doesn't have a grille and its emblem is back-lit.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I.-powered cat toys, wallets, food containers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Tesla drops Full Self-Driving option from online configurator to spare ‘confusion’

Tesla no longer offers a Full Self-Driving (FSD) option for Models S, X, and 3 in the company's online configuration tool. CEO Elon Musk said the FSD option caused confusion. Its software validation and regulatory approval could take years.
Cars

U.K. on-demand car service plans autonomous vehicles in London by 2021

U.K.-based Addison Lee and Oxbotica allied to serve the connected and autonomous vehicle services market. Addison Lee is an established executive car service and Oxbotica develops self-driving car systems and fleet management software.