Watch out, valets -- your days are numbered, if Bosch and Mercedes-Benz have anything to say about it.
The automaker and supplier have teamed up once again, this time to create a driverless valet service that's built into the car itself. It's currently being tested as a pilot project at the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage in Stuttgart, Germany.
It's pretty straightforward. You drive your(you have one of those, right?) to the door in the parking garage. Hop out of the car, whip out your phone, and in a couple presses, the car shuffles off to find a spot on its own. When it's time to leave, pull out the phone again and command the car to return to you.
The car might seem like the only thing putting in work, but it's not. In fact, Bosch built a whole intelligent parking infrastructure in the garage. There are sensors monitoring the vehicle's surroundings, which can be sent to the vehicle in the form of specific driving instructions. It can get cars to stop if it identifies, say, a child running around all willy-nilly.
Bosch believes its smart-garage technology can improve parking efficiency. It claims the same amount of garage space can handle 20 percent more cars with its system in place, although it's not clear if that extra space comes solely from poor human parking.
Of course, you can't just let robot cars loose in parking garages without authority figures taking place. Germany's TÜV Rheinland, which provides vehicle inspections and certifications, is assessing the system's safety, and regulatory bodies must sign off on the tech before the public can make use of it. So, unless you're heading to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in the near future, you'll have to wait a bit longer before your car acts as its own valet.