Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Machinery Systems, Ltd. launched Phase 2 of demonstration testing of an automated valet parking system at Shisui Premium Outlets’, an outlet mall located in Chiba Prefecture.
The system employs automated guided vehicle (AGV) robots, dubbed “Stan,” manufactured by Stanley Robotics, a French venture-backed company.
Phase 1 of the demonstration testing of this automated valet parking system, the first application of its kind in a commercial complex in Japan, took place in June 2022(1).
The initial phase had two core aims: to verify handling performance using AGV robots, and to evaluate user satisfaction.
For Phase 2, the original system has been upgraded with the addition of a newly developed smartphone app, and testing will focus on verifying the enhanced system’s performance in automating the four aspects of valet parking: vehicle drop-off, transportation to the parking space, parking, and delivery and exiting.
As in Phase 1, the demonstration testing will take place in a designated parking zone at Shisui Premium Outlets, an outlet mall in Chiba Prefecture developed and operated by Mitsubishi Estate-Simon Co., Ltd., with cooperation from Mitsubishi Estate Group. Vehicles of personnel affiliated with the mall will be used.
Deployment of the enhanced automated valet parking system enables a significant reduction in waiting time at vehicle pick-up, as the user can confirm the vehicle’s readiness and the congestion status by smartphone app.
User convenience and safety are further enhanced as the vehicle can be dropped off and picked up without human contact, reducing risk of COVID infection.
For the business operator, system deployment generates new value by providing the user with extra time to enjoy shopping and dining within the commercial complex.
MHI Group will apply the knowledge gained from the demonstration testing toward achieving early commercialization and adoption of automated valet parking systems at commercial complexes, airports, amusement parks, hospitals, and other large-scale facilities throughout Japan.
MHI Group, as part of its growth strategy under its 2021 Medium-Term Business Plan, is currently taking steps to develop its solutions business through achievement of smart social infrastructures, in a quest to realize a carbon neutral society. This project is one of various initiatives the Company is working on to support “CASE”(2) era infrastructure building. By taking the lead in providing AGV robot-based automated valet parking systems, MHI Group will contribute to the realization of a safe, convenient and sustainable society.
Concepts behind AGV robot-based automated valet parking
- Arrival: The customer parks in one of the “berths” installed next to the facility, and simply drop off the vehicle. There is no need to search for a parking space or to walk from a distant parking space even in inclement weather.
- Automated transportation: The AGV robot automatically transports the vehicle to a designated parking space. Robot-assisted parking enables more efficient use of limited space, to increase parking capacity. Storing the vehicle in the segregated parking area also prevents accidents or thefts.
- Reservation for departure: The customer can simply make a reservation for departure at any time by smartphone app. As the reservation time approaches, the vehicle is automatically transported to the berth. Since the customer can confirm the vehicle status by app, it is possible to continue shopping, dining, etc. thus making more effective use of time.
- Departure: The vehicle is available for pick-up at the berth at the reserved time, so there is no waiting. The berth is spacious, enabling easy loading of passengers and packages comfortably without stress.
(1) For details: https://www.mhi.com/news/220613.html
(2) “CASE” is an acronym derived from the words “connected,” “autonomous,” “shared” and “electric.” It refers to the current technological trend in the automotive industry to create next-generation mobility services that offer outstanding safety and convenience.