BMW and French automotive supplier Valeo are expanding their partnership in the area of self-driving technology to cover automated parking systems that can be used in both private and public parking garages.
The two companies already entered into an agreement last summer to use some of Valeo's self-driving technology on BMW's upcoming Neue Klasse family of electric vehicles, including a central computer, sensors, and software for automated low-speed maneuvering.
The two companies this week said they will also work together to develop an automated parking system ranked at Level 4 on the SAE scale of self-driving technology. Level 4 means a vehicle can operate without a driver, albeit with restrictions, the main one typically being within a geofenced area.
The companies said they are working on automated parking systems that rely fully on the vehicle's onboard self-driving technology, as well as parking systems that also rely on certain infrastructure installed in the parking garage. Mercedes-Benz and Bosch have developed the second type of parking system and have already deployed it at one of the parking garages of Stuttgart Airport in Germany.
Like the Mercedes and Bosch system, BMW and Valeo plan to develop a system that lets the driver leave the car at a drop-off zone, after which the car takes over tasks such as finding a parking spot, the necessary maneuvers for parking in and out, and then driving back to a pick-up zone.
BMW has already introduced self-driving technology that makes driving in tight parking garages easier. Its Maneuver Assistant offered in the iX electric SUV can remember a path driven by the driver, for instance into a tricky parking spot, and then automatically perform the maneuver the next time. However, the driver needs to remain in the vehicle.
There was no mention of when a Level 4 automated parking system might be installed in a BMW vehicle, but the first Neue Klasse EV is due in 2025.