Park and try at Hamburg airport

Riley Riley

Sydney airport has park and fly.

Germany’s Hamburg airport on the other hand has leapfrogged the park bit with cars that park themselves.

The airport is the site for a pilot project from the Volkswagen Group to prove that 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 to make the service available commercially for the first customers to test the new autonomous parking service within a couple of years.

If successful it will mean an end to the search for parking spaces with passengers able to head straight to the terminal.

Germans spend 41 hours a year looking for a parking space, says Volkswagen. The British spend 44 hours and New Yorkers even spend 107 hours a year.

Volkswagen is on a mission to give this time back to its customers.

In future they will simply be able to leave their car at the entrance to the car park and the car will look for a parking space and park itself autonomously – without any stress, scratches and especially without wasting any time.

Chief Digital Officer of the Volkswagen Group, Johann Jungwirth, said 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,” he said.

As part of the project 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 and, if required, an electric charging station.

This is made possible by simple pictorial markers in the car park, which vehicle sensors use for orientation.

But that’s not all.

While the vehicle’s 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.

The billing is also fast, without any need to queue at a ticket machine – needless to say, via the app.

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.

Hamburg Airport CEO, Michael Eggenschwiler, 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.”

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