Auto Bild to grant V-Charge with Connected Car Award

January 7, 2016 in News by Ulrich Schwesinger

Auto Bild honours V-Charge with the Connected Car Award 2015. The award was handed over on 6th of January, 2016 during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The head of VW Electronics Research accepted the award in the name of the V-Charge consortium.
The Connected Car Award covers all aspects of automotive connectivity and has been awarded by Auto Bild and Computer Bild since 2013. Experts from both magazines had pre-selected a shortlist, from which the readers were able to determine their favorites in nine categories via online voting.

http://www.autobild.de/bilder/connected-car-award-2015-die-gewinner-8438273.html#bild30
http://www.automotiveworld.com/news-releases/vw-v-charge-research-project-wins-2015-connected-car-award/

Euronews Futuris episode on V-Charge

December 8, 2015 in News by Ulrich Schwesinger

Press Release Final Demonstration, July 2015

July 15, 2015 in News by Ulrich Schwesinger

Final presentation of the EU-funded V-Charge project

July, 2015

PDF version of the press release (English)

Driverless Parking And Charging for e-Mobility

Can you imagine never having to search for a parking spot again? The V-Charge project offers the solution. This fully automated parking system relieves drivers of this tiresome and time-consuming task. With a simple push of a button in the V-Charge smartphone application, the vehicle finds its way to a vacant parking spot all on its own. If combined with an electric vehicle, this technology promotes novel environmentally-friendly mobility concepts with the use of short-range private transportation to facilitate access to and from long-distance public transportation. This project envisions a world in which travellers complete most interurban journeys using a long-distance transportation network and then switch to comfortable electric vehicles for the last few miles from the railway station or airport to the destination. V-Charge enables the traveller to drop his or her vehicle off at the entrance of the parking lot, handing over the tedious search for a charging station and parking spot to the system. Picking up the vehicle at the end of the day is as easy as dropping it off – the vehicle awaits the traveller at the entrance, fully charged and ready for the onward journey.

Close-to-Market Sensors for Early Market Adoption

This new mobility concept requires nothing less than fully automated driving in designated parking lot areas. However, the V-Charge project sets itself apart from other automated parking concepts by enabling co-existence of manual and automated traffic while utilising a close-to-market sensor setup and placing only minimal infrastructure requirements on the parking lot. The cameras and ultrasonic sensors required for the vehicle to perceive and navigate in its environment are already available in many series cars. Localisation within the parking lot does not require any artificial markers nor any structural modifications due to the usage of solely natural visual landmarks. This increases the attractiveness for both managers and end-users of the parking lot due to substantial savings in both time and cost.
To make this vision a reality, the V-Charge project pools the knowledge of leading experts in the fields of automated driving, computer vision, and network communication. Researchers from ETH Zürich and the universities of Braunschweig, Oxford, and Parma, in collaboration with industrial partners Robert Bosch GmbH and Volkswagen AG now present the result of four years of intensive research and development in the Excellence Parking Garage at Amsterdam airport.

A Highly Accurate System

Cameras and ultrasonic sensors are arranged for 360° coverage of the surroundings. After connecting to a remote parking lot server, the vehicle receives a specially designed map for localisation, and road-network information for the parking lot. The localisation map stores visual information of all the places in the parking lot, enabling the vehicle to determine its position with respect to the map using its camera images. This technology does not rely on a GPS sensor, thus allowing also navigation in indoor environments such as underground parking spaces where GPS is not available, and was perfected to provide centimeter-level accuracy.
In the background, the parking lot server computes a time schedule for the vehicle based on the requested drop-off and pickup times, making the most efficient use of a potentially limited number of charging stations by prioritising imminent pickups. A year has passed since the previous demonstration of the system in the “Bosch parking garage” at Stuttgart airport, and parking accuracy was improved even further, enabling precise maneuvers to perfectly position the vehicle on inductive charging plates.

Navigation in Mixed Traffic

On its way to the designated parking spot or charging bay, the vehicle is constantly using its onboard sensors to monitor its local surroundings for static obstacles and other road users, and seamlessly integrates with them in traffic. The system automatically distinguishes between vehicles and pedestrians and accounts for their differing movement patterns.

With the final demonstration in Amsterdam, the V-Charge team shows that automated valet parking can be realized with a contemporary, close-to-market sensor setup. Work remains to be done to achieve higher levels of automation in the mapping processes and enable multiple automated vehicles to constantly contribute data to keep maps up to date. Allowing the system to learn behaviours of other road users and improve navigation over time will further promote smooth integration into everyday mixed-traffic operation.

 
 
V-Charge is a collaborative research project being coordinated by ETH Zurich with contributions from the universities of Braunschweig, Oxford, and Parma together with Bosch and Volkswagen AG. The project is receiving funding from the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (V-Charge, project number 269916) and has an overall budget of 5.63 million euros. It is set to run from June 1, 2011 to September 30, 2015.

 
 
 
Partners’ contacts for press inquiries
ETH Zürich: Claudia Nägeli, claudia.naegeli@hk.ethz.ch, +41 (0)44 632 8961
TU Braunschweig: Elisabeth Hoffmann, e.hoffmann@tu-braunschweig.de, +49 (0)531 391 4122
University of Oxford: Pete Wilton, pete.wilton@admin.ox.ac.uk, +44 (0)1865 283877
University of Parma: Beatrice Lanfredi, office@vislab.it, +39 (0)521 905738
Robert Bosch GmbH: Joern Ebberg, joern.ebberg@bosch.com, +49 (0)711 811-26223
Volkswagen AG: Tim Fronzek, tim.fronzek@volkswagen.de, +49 (0)5361 977 639

V-Charge Featured in MEDIAPLANET Interview

June 18, 2015 in News by Ulrich Schwesinger



New V-Charge Concept Video

June 18, 2015 in News by Ulrich Schwesinger

V-Charge Final Demonstration Event Announced

May 22, 2015 in News by Ulrich Schwesinger

After four years of intensive research and development, the European project V-Charge will demonstrate driverless parking and charging using solely close-to-market sensors during a one-day event at the Mobile Life Campus in Wolfsburg. The event features live demonstrations of the system and provides opportunities to discuss with academic and industrial experts in the fields of automated driving, computer vision and network communication. During the live demonstrations, all components involved in driverless parking and charging such as camera-only localization, obstacle avoidance, reaction to pedestrians and vehicles in mixed-traffic scenarios and smartphone-triggered dropoff and pickup of the vehicle will be shown to a selected audience.

For more information, visit http://www.v-charge.eu/?page_id=798

V-Charge Interview in Swiss Tagesanzeiger

May 22, 2015 in News by Ulrich Schwesinger



V-Charge in Swiss TV news

May 19, 2015 in News by Ulrich Schwesinger

In the context of the Swisscom autonomous drives on public streets in Zurich, V-Charge was featured in Swiss national TV news.

by admin

Presentation at Swiss Associaton for E-Mobility

July 10, 2014 in News by admin


The V-Charge project is going to be presented at the annual conference and general meeting of the swiss association for e-mobility on July 28th, 2014. For further information and online registration visit http://www.e-mobile.ch.

by admin

Press Release

March 31, 2014 in News by admin

April, 2014
Interim presentation of the EU-funded V-Charge project

Driverless parking for tomorrow’s vehicles

Video (English)


Right-click or ctrl-click this link to download

Video (German)


Right-click or ctrl-click this link to download


PDF version of the press release (English)
PDF version of the press release (German)
PDF version of the press release (Italian)

Collaborative development of automated parking and charging for electric vehicles

Electric vehicles hold the promise of sustainable mobility for the years ahead. But current technology has significant limitations such as reduced driving ranges and long charging times. As such, today’s electric cars are not yet a realistic alternative to conventionally powered vehicles when considering long-distance journeys. This is why scientists are developing novel approaches that combine not only short- and long-haul travel but also public and private modes of transportation. One such concept is currently being developed by a team of researchers at ETH Zurich and the universities of Braunschweig, Oxford, and Parma, in collaboration with industrial partners Bosch and Volkswagen AG. Their EU-funded project is called V-Charge, which stands for “valet parking and charging,” and it envisions a world in which travelers complete most interurban journeys using a well-developed long-distance transportation network and then switch to comfortable electric vehicles for the last few miles home from the railway station. To support this vision, the researchers are developing V-Charge park & ride car parks, where fully automated electric vehicles will be able to make their way to charging stations or parking spaces. Travelers simply use a smartphone app to send their vehicle to charge itself. Once it is fully charged, they can summon it just as easily via the app to come and pick them up.

Vehicles will avoid collisions

The project was launched in June 2011 and reached an important milestone on April 2, 2014, when the scientists presented the latest version of their fully automated driving and parking function in the Bosch parking garage at Stuttgart airport. They successfully demonstrated fully automated valet parking triggered from a smartphone app. After receiving the trigger, the vehicle connects to the parking garage’s server, determines the location of a vacant parking space, and then drives itself to that space. If another vehicle crosses its path, the vehicle either stops to let it pass or maneuvers to avoid it.

Pooling expertise to deliver a cost-effective solution

It is not possible to use GPS to locate vehicles inside parking garages as the building obstructs satellite signals. Instead, the scientists have developed a camera-based system that relies on the team’s pooled expertise in the fields of robotics and environment sensing. The first step is for the vehicle to connect with the parking garage infrastructure and download special map for determining its precise location. The map contains a description of the surroundings that is specifically designed to be used with camera sensors. The vehicle can determine its position by comparing the data its cameras collect at any given time with data from the map.

Any obstacles are detected by a stereo camera and then either recognized as static or identified as another road user currently in motion. Several times a second, the vehicle recalculates the optimum sequence of driving maneuvers that will allow it to avoid both static and moving objects.
The aim is to make the functions outlined here cost-effective enough to appeal to the market so that they can be integrated into series production in the near future. This is why the engineers deliberately avoided sensor systems that are not suitable for series production. Instead they are working with equipment that is already available today, including the ultrasonic sensors and stereo cameras that are used in parking assistance and emergency braking systems.
With the project set to conclude in 2015, the team will now continue to refine all aspects of this system. One central aspect is the accuracy of parking maneuvers. In order to charge themselves automatically, electric vehicles of the future will have to approach charging stations with particular precision. Reliable navigation is another focus of the project’s work. It needs to be ensured that vehicles can deal reliably with any situation that arises, even when faced with strongly fluctuating lighting conditions, heavy traffic in which other vehicles are being controlled manually, and areas shared with pedestrian traffic.

V-Charge is a collaborative research project being coordinated by ETH Zurich with contributions from the universities of Braunschweig, Oxford, and Parma together with Bosch and Volkswagen AG. The project is receiving funding from the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (V-Charge, project number 269916) and has an overall budget of 5.63 million euros. It is set to run from June 1, 2011 to September 30, 2015.