BMW and Valeo are expanding their strategic partnership to jointly develop next-generation automated Level 4 parking solutions.
When Bosch and parking operator APCOA recently announced the roll-out of a commercial model for automated valet parking, the choice of potentially enabled vehicles was limited to a few Mercedes-Benz models. Now competitor BMW wants to follow suit: The company has signed a contract for a strategic cooperation with electronics supplier Valeo, which will give BMW access to the hitherto very exclusive club of valet parking. The corresponding technology is intended for vehicles being developed on the basis of the modular “Neue Klasse” platform.
The contract covers the development of numerous technologies for automated valet parking. These include vehicle-integrated technologies and sensors as well as infrastructure-based services to enable fully automated parking and charging for customers in suitably equipped public car parks and multi-storey car parks. The spectrum of technology ranges from the manoeuvring aid “Automated Manoeuvre Assistance” to the Level 4 parking service “Automated Valet Parking”. Infrastructure-based services are also being jointly developed to provide customers with fully automated parking and charging in suitably equipped public car parks and multi-storey car parks. As far as can be seen so far, the BMW-Valeo solution will differ significantly from the Bosch-Mercedes approach – the BMW/Valeo tandem intends to rely on in-vehicle sensors to a greater extent than Bosch and Mercedes.
Powerful compute platform handles number-crunching
The software functions are based on the current software stack for driverless parking, which was introduced in 2021 with the BMW iX. In the next generation, the software will be extended to run jointly developed algorithms on a powerful computing platform.
“This joint development is an important milestone for the BMW Group with regard to our new generation of solutions for automated driving and parking. With scalable L4 parking functions, we are strengthening our position in this field. In order to develop functions that will delight our customers, we need state-of-the-art software and hardware solutions in all parts of the digital value chain as well as a powerful data ecosystem for the vehicle fleet,” says Nicolai Martin, Head of Driving Experience, BMW Group.
Valeo aims to leverage its expertise and technologies in advanced AI-based computer vision algorithms and expand its portfolio to include L4 capabilities as well as cloud services with this cooperation, which builds on stack components already launched in the market. “Other automakers will have the opportunity to participate in this platform, with BMW once again setting the standard for the most intuitive and convenient user experience that our customers rightly expect,” said Marc Vrecko, President Comfort and Driving Assistance Systems Business Group at Valeo.
The Automated Valet Parking (AVP) driverless parking service offers drivers and passengers a fully automated parking experience. At an exit zone, the driver exits the car. The vehicle then autonomously takes over tasks such as finding a parking space and making the necessary parking and exit manoeuvres. The vehicle can also drive autonomously back to an entry zone, where the driver takes it over again. To make the best use of parking time, additional services such as fully automated charging or washing of the car can be provided.
According to a future ISO standard available as a draft, automated valet parking solutions are divided into two categories: Type 1 and Type 2 systems. In Type 1 systems, the required technologies (including all sensors, computing units and algorithms) run in the vehicle. In Type 2 systems, the required systems (including sensors and AVP management system) are built into the relevant infrastructure, for example in parking garages, and the vehicle is controlled by this infrastructure.
The partnership between BMW and Valeo is intended to support both AVP systems, Type 1 and Type 2, BMW announced in this regard.