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Ever wished your car would park itself and return to you later? You could be in luck

The V-Charge consortium, funded by the EU, has developed a system that would allow driverless cars to park and recharge automatically while the driver is away.

DRIVERLESS CARS MAY have been given the go-ahead for trials in the UK recently (with no plans for any in Ireland yet) but the EU is preparing for the possibility of such vehicles growing in popularity.

Researchers from Germany, Italy, the UK and Switzerland are working on a system that will allow driverless cars to find a parking space while you tend to more important things.

The system, called V-Charge, has received €5.6 million in investment from the EU and is exploring the possibility of creating a fully automated parking and charging system for electric cars at public car parks.

The basic idea is such: a driver can arrive at their destination and get out of their car. Using a smartphone app to begin the parking process, the car will connect with the car park’s server and drive itself to the designated space.

Driverless parking 1 BoschAutomotive / YouTube BoschAutomotive / YouTube / YouTube

It can also be programmed to go to a charging station to recharge, so when the driver summons it again, it will return to them fully charged.

Since most car parks are inside buildings or underground and not have access to GPS, the researchers have developed a camera-based system so it can navigate safely and avoid unexpected obstacles.

Driverless parking 3 BoschAutomotive / YouTube BoschAutomotive / YouTube / YouTube

After testing the system at Stuttgart airport in April, the researchers are currently fine-tuning the technology so it can perform more precise manoeuvres and make sure it’s reliable in all conditions.

The study is expected to conclude next year, after which the EU expects to see the results “progressively commercialised in the coming years.” It says the functions developed “should be cost-effective enough to be integrated into [the] production of electric vehicles.”

BoschAutomotive / YouTube

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