Dubai: The next generation remote parking system was tested for the first time in the UAE at the third International Conference for Future Mobility (ICFM) on Tuesday, as the UAE continues to explore the latest in transport technology in its march to embrace smart mobility.
Gulf News got the first chance of trying the mobile application-based parking system that was on display at the conference and exhibition organised by Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma).
Oliver Niederer demonstrates the Mercedes Benz ‘me connect’ system that lets a car manoeuvre into a parking spot without human interference. (Photo: Clint Egbert/Gulf News)
Developed by Mercedes Benz, the system that is already live on some of its European models, is going through trials and certification process in the UAE and could be available soon.
Unlike any other park-assist system, the Mercedes’ ‘me connect’ system enables the car to park in any type of parking, including parallel, horizontal and angled, without any human interference.
The car locates a parking spot, and as the driver steps out and makes a circling sign on the ‘me connect’ app, the car manoeuvres on its own, reversing, forwarding, turning and finally smoothly slipping into a parking spot.
“This feature is still not available in the UAE, we are currently working through the certification process, and we will soon make it available here,” said Oliver Niederer, a Mercedes ‘me connect’ executive.
He added that the feature is particularly handy in congested areas of the city, where there are very narrow spaces to park.
“Many people find it difficult to park in congested areas, this will make sure the car is safely parked without any damage and hassle,” he added.
The system requires the driver to be within the radius of three metres, while the driver also has to keep circling on the mobile app when the car is manoeuvring.
Several other brands of vehicles have autonomous parking feature, which experts say is the first natural step towards fully autonomous driving.
Last year, BMW launched a remote-based parking which, however, only works in garage parking.
“Autonomous technology is still in different stages of development and it is developing fast. Though fully autonomous cars are already available, we are still not ready for roads. The technology will require a lot of steps before it is introduced on the roads. I feel driverless parking is the first natural step towards autonomous driving. This is the first time trials on autonomous features are happening in the UAE and I am sure we will continue to move forward,” said Abdullah Al Muaini, director-general of Esma.
He added that apart from stepping up the push for autonomous vehicles, the mobility sector is also making other strides like introducing hydrogen vehicles as well as having higher capacity electric and hybrid cars.
“Hydrogen fuel technology is another thing we are focusing on right now. We are in discussion with the industry leaders, experts and other government bodies to formulate regulations for hydrogen-powered vehicles and I believe by next year these vehicles will be on UAE roads,” said Al Muaini.
The exhibition also showcased advanced hybrid vehicles that could go up to 40km on just one litre of fuel, making a Dubai to Abu Dhabi trip at a cost of just Dh6.
Over the last 10 years, Dubai has saved around 6,000 tonnes of CO2 through 1,200 hybrid vehicles, mainly operating as taxis.
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