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No more searching for parking spaces. The Volkswagen Group tests autonomous parking at Hamburg Airport

On average Germans spend 41 hours a year looking for a parking space, the British spend 44 hours and residents of New York even spend 107 hours a year*. The Volkswagen Group wants to give this time back to its customers and it has a clear vision: in future we simply leave our car at the entrance to the car park and the car looks for a parking space and parks autonomously – without any stress, scratches and especially without wasting any time. A pilot project from the Volkswagen Group shows how this is possible. In a multi-storey car park near the terminal of Hamburg Airport experts are currently testing autonomous parking with Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles. The project is part of the mobility partnership with the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg that aims to develop Hamburg as a model city for urban mobility. The target is for the first customers to be able to test the new autonomous parking service at the beginning of the next decade. And then there will be an end to the search for parking spaces and passengers can head straight to the terminal.
 
Johann Jungwirth, Chief Digital Officer of the Volkswagen Group, says: “With new mobility solutions we want to give people more time and quality of life by reducing the time spent and stress in road traffic. Our vision is mobility that is available to everyone, everywhere and at all times at the press of a button – and autonomous vehicles play a decisive role here. People currently spend around 30 percent of their driving time in urban areas looking for a parking space. Autonomous parking like we are testing here at Hamburg Airport is an important step on the way to autonomous driving – as an integrated full-service concept via an app. We are putting a consistent focus on people and their needs.”
 
 
In the test scenario shown here, users can book a parking space at Hamburg Airport conveniently from home using an app and simply leave their car at the entrance to the multi-storey car park. Everything else is done automatically: the vehicle looks for a free parking space – if required at an electric charging station. This is made possible by simple pictorial markers in the car park, which the vehicle sensors use for orientation. But that’s not all: while the vehicle owner is away, parcels ordered are delivered to the vehicle boot and the dry cleaning service hangs freshly laundered clothes straight in the vehicle. Upon return, the driver simply sends a brief message via the app and a short time later the vehicle is ready to drive home at the exit of the car park. And the billing is also fast and without queuing at the parking machine – needless to say, via the app.
 
Mobility of the future as a joint task
 
Johann Jungwirth adds: “This integration of user-focused services combined with innovative technology is pointing the way to the future of mobility. The cooperation on this project is equally trend-setting. Because one thing is certain: we can only shape the mobility of the future together, with the customer at the centre of everything we do – across market borders and with strong partners such as the city of Hamburg and Hamburg Airport.”
 
Autonomous parking is an important project for the mobility partnership between the Volkswagen Group and the city of Hamburg
Frank Horch, Hamburg Senator for Economic Affairs, Traffic and Innovation, says: “I think it is important that parking at the airport is practical and as quick as possible for travellers. Autonomous parking, where there is no need to park the vehicle, is therefore the right way forward for us. Together with our partners, we want to reduce the stress of parking in future and make it more convenient. The autonomous parking pilot project shows the direction that innovative parking solutions for the citizens of Hamburg will take in the next few years and how they can be applied to traffic in the city.”
 
The pilot project for autonomous parking at Hamburg Airport is part of the strategic mobility partnership between the Volkswagen Group and the city of Hamburg. The common goal is to develop Hamburg as a model city for urban mobility of the future. With the live demonstration of autonomous parking, one of the agreed projects is now taking shape.
 
Hamburg Airport as a strong partner for testing autonomous parking under real conditions
 
The Volkswagen Group was able to win Hamburg Airport as a partner to test autonomous parking under real conditions. Hamburg Airport is the first airport in Germany to commit itself to autonomous parking solutions and is providing parking lanes in the multi-storey car park directly opposite Terminal 2 for the test phase.
 
Michael Eggenschwiler, CEO of Hamburg Airport, says: “We are pleased to support innovative ideas that make travelling even more comfortable. Autonomous parking is a great opportunity to offer our passengers significant added value: the journey to the airport is more relaxed because there is no need to search for a parking space and our passengers can check-in in just 2 minutes from the car park.”
 
There is also a further advantage for the parking situation at the airport: autonomously parking cars need much less space for parking as drivers do not have to get in or out. In future, more parking spaces could therefore be made available to passengers in the direct vicinity of the airport.
 
Shaping the urban mobility of the future: a focus of the Volkswagen Group's “TOGETHER – Strategy 2025”
 
Shaping urban mobility as part of the “TOGETHER – Strategy 2025” plays an important role for the Volkswagen Group on the way to becoming the leading provider of mobility. This is because towns and cities are decisive for the future of mobility. It is here that the problems are most pressing and the potential for change is greatest. This is why the Volkswagen Group is investing more than €34 billion in new technologies for the future such as electric mobility, autonomous driving, digital networking of all road users and new mobility services – all important levers for making urban mobility more efficient and cleaner, and towns and cities better places to live in.
The Volkswagen Group sees itself as a partner of the cities with the objective of generating ideas, developing cooperation projects and carrying out tests together with the cities. The Volkswagen Group already has more than 50 cooperation projects and city partnerships. The most extensive strategic partnership is currently with Hamburg.
 
In addition to autonomous parking, further projects are in preparation in Hamburg. Here is an overview:
  • The Volkswagen brand is bringing its “We Deliver” service to Hamburg. Users can have parcels delivered to their car boot. Deutsche Post subsidiary DHL is a Volkswagen partner in “We Deliver”.
  • V2X procedures will be tested before the end of this year. Here, vehicles communicate directly with traffic lights to optimise traffic flow.
  • MOIA, the new mobility company in the Volkswagen Group, will start operations in Hamburg at the end of 2018. The shuttle-on-demand service will launch with environmentally friendly electric vehicles, complement public transport and offer an alternative to private cars.
  • MAN will test the use of autonomous trucks in the port of Hamburg and on selected motorway sections from 2019. In one terminal, trucks will drive fully autonomously; for safety reasons there will still be a driver on board.
Further projects are already in preparation. The ITS World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) will be a further milestone in the cooperation between Hamburg and the Volkswagen Group. With the support of the Volkswagen Group in the application procedure, Hamburg has won Germany’s bid to host the World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems and the event will be held in the city in 2021. The hosting of the ITS Congress 2021 is an important opportunity – not only for the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the Volkswagen Group, but also for Germany as a whole to present new developments and applications relating to mobility.
 
About the Volkswagen Group: Based in Wolfsburg, Germany, the Volkswagen Group is one of the world's leading carmakers and the largest car manufacturer in Europe. Twelve brands from seven European countries belong to the Group: Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN. The Group operates 120 production facilities in 20 European countries and in eleven countries in America, Asia and Africa. More than 610,000 employees around the globe produce almost 42,000 vehicles every working day, are involved in vehicle-related services or work in other business areas. The Volkswagen Group sells its vehicles in 153 countries. With its future programme TOGETHER – Strategy 2025, the Volkswagen Group has paved the way for the biggest change process in its history: its restructuring to become one of the world's leading providers of sustainable mobility.
 
About the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg’s involvement in the ITS: In April 2016 the city of Hamburg developed its own ITS strategy (http://www.its2021.hamburg/downloads/ITS%20Strategie%20Hamburg.pdf), creating the conditions for further developing the Hamburg transport system using digital technologies. Digitalisation in the transport sector takes place at different levels. To this end, Hamburg works closely with industry, science, the public sector, transport companies / transport associations and professional associations. Hamburg has already created a basis for this and has established strategic partnerships with various industrial partners such as the Volkswagen Group. Synergies are promoted through cooperation in public-private partnerships (PPP). The aim of the cooperation is to develop Hamburg as a model city for sustainable and integrated urban mobility.
 
About Hamburg Airport: Hamburg Airport has more than 17 million passengers a year, making it the fifth-largest airport in Germany. Passengers can choose from a wide route network: 130 national and international destinations are offered by around 60 airlines. Hamburg Airport has a large catchment area with the potential to attract lots of passengers from Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, parts of Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Denmark. Hamburg Airport is preparing for all the challenges of air traffic of the future with a modern infrastructure. Around 15,000 employees work in almost 250 companies on the airport premises. The partially privatised airport is owned by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (51 per cent) and AviAlliance GmbH (49 per cent).
 
* Source: INRIX 2017

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