Hyundai and Kia on Thursday showcased a fully automated valet system that is currently under consideration for production.
The system leverages technology being developed for self-driving cars and is operated via a smartphone. Upon reaching a parking facility, the driver receives the location of empty parking spots that he or she could then direct the vehicle to.
If a wireless charging system is also included, the driver could set their car to be charged as well. In this case, the vehicle would first roll up to a vacant wireless charging station. When the vehicle is fully charged, it will relocate to an empty spot and wait until its driver hails it.
Hyundai and Kia automated valet concept
The overall process is performed by continuous communication between the vehicle, parking facility, and charging station. The technology is meant to offer a convenience to drivers who are faced with an overcrowding of both parking and charging locations as electric car numbers start to grow.
Hyundai and Kia said they are considering launching the technology alongside Level 4 self-driving technology around the year 2025. A Level 4 car can fully operate on its own in select conditions but requires a driver on board to take over outside of the conditions. A Level 4 car can also bring itself safely to a stop should a driver fail to take back control.
Hyundai and Kia are working with America's Aurora Innovation on self-driving technology and expects to have their first self-driving cars on the road in various smart cities from 2021. The long-term goal is to have a Level 5 self-driving car, i.e. one that can operate without anyone on board, on sale by 2030.