RAC Cars News


Volvo Valet Parks Itself

By raccars Published

Those who've found themselves victims to the frustrations of a crowded multistorey will be very interested in news from Volvo, which has announced its latest technological advance in the form of a car that parks itself. Valet Volvo uses sensors to find and use a vacant parking space and will even leave its space and return to its driver when requested.

While Volkswagen and BMW have been developing technology that allows drivers to leave the vehicle and stand aside while the car manoeuvres itself into a small garage or parking bay, Valet Volvo goes further and has more in common with Audi's self parking concept, as seen in this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

The system works via a smartphone app, which instructs the car to find a space. Motorists will be able to leave their vehicle at the car park entrance and leave it to do the work for them. The sensor system allows the car to negotiate people and other cars, stopping for pedestrians when its sensor alerts the system to their presence. Valet Volvo's sensors then work to position the car perfectly in the middle of an empty parking spot. The driver can return to the car park entrance and call the car to pick them up there.

Lexus, Audi and Apple have shown cloud-driven parking information systems that can advise drivers about the availability of parking spaces, which is similar to the technology installed in Valet Volvo.

The autonomous driving technology uses a combination of sensors with an automatic steering and braking programme, to detect objects and navigate them safely. Should a vehicle suddenly exit from a space while Valet Volvo is driving, it will stop and allow the other car to pass and then make use of the recently vacated space.

The new technology will face public trials from next week, as part of Volvo's plan to become a global leader in the autonomous driving technology market. The company is putting the system on fast forward development, with the aim of installing it into production cars within the next few years. Volvo is simultaneously working on SARTRE, the Safe Road Trains for the Environment project, allowing vehicles to drive partially autonomously on the road, in formation, among other vehicles.

The first car to feature a form of the Valet Volvo technology will be the new Volvo XC90, which is due to arrive in showrooms by the end of next year.

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