In the Future, Surveillance Cameras Will Help Park Your Car for You
The first wave of autonomous cars won’t debut on roads — they’ll land in parking lots. That’s one reason Honda is developing a low-cost automatic valet system that uses both the car’s camera and the parking lot’s surveillance system to eliminate the drudgery of finding a spot.
Honda’s researchers in Japan have created a network that links the on-board rear view cameras in its cars with parking lot surveillance cameras, allowing the system to detect where the car is dropped off and the location of available spaces. After the driver exits, the drive-by-wire throttle, braking, and steering are automatically controlled by the network, using the surveillance cameras for an overhead view and the back-up camera as a way to detect lines and other objects close to the car.
“The information that’s used to move the cars, such as white lines, is sent to the cars as maps,” a Honda representative stated. “If a store introduces this system, customers can drop their car off in front of the store, and the car will go to a parking space automatically, in cooperation with the parking lot. Then, when customers come out with all their shopping, they can just wait in front of the store, and the car will come to them.”
In May, Audi showed off a similar parking system, but the number of sensors and assorted equipment to make it work is particularly pricey, and at first, only aimed at high-end hotels and restaurants. By using existing, network-linked cameras, Honda believes the self-parking technology could be deployed at a lower cost. However, the larger issue is a networking standard.The system can also be linked via your smartphone.