There are only a few minutes before checking in for your flight, or closes before your train departs, but you have to use valuable time looking for a space in the parking lot of the airport or the train station. Imagine leaving your vehicle at the main entrance and let the car do the rest by itself.
With these words, the European Union has V-Charge, a research working project funded with 5.6 million Euros that will allow in the future simplifying the integration between private and public transport, through a system of parking and automatic charging for electric cars. The consortium is composed of the same name by Bosch, Volkswagen and four universities, including the one in Parma.
The driver can leave their car in face of the parking lot and use a mobile app to send the command to the vehicle parking. Later will connect to the server to download the parking map and look for a free spot in an autonomous way. Eventually, the car may also look for a charging station. With the same app, the user will call the vehicle that will arrive at the entrance of the airport, as you can see in the following video.
Since the GPS signal does not always work indoors, movement of the car in the parking lot is driven by a system of cameras and sensors that allow you to detect and avoid obstacles. The same scheme could be used to look for parking on city streets, but in this case, you have to solve various problems. However, the development of autonomous parking systems for electric cars in the city is possible. Just get maps of the area.
The project completion is scheduled for 2015. V-Charge should be pretty cheap, so it is likely its integration in the cars that will be marketed in the coming years. Engineers can take advantage of the sensors and cameras already present today in some vehicles and technologies used for driver assistance.