Behind the Headlines

MATLAB and Simulink behind today’s news and trends

Tight parking spot? Get out and let your smartphone park your car.


A number of high-profile stories about self-driving vehicles have been in the news lately, including Google’s announcement of over 1.7 million self-driven miles, Apple’s hiring of auto industry executives, and Elon Musk’s forecast of a fully-autonomous Tesla in three years.

Three years before the debut of commercially available cars means more like 10 for those of us who aren’t likely to be the early adopters.

While I like driving, I hate coming out to a parking lot to find my car trapped by a “parking challenged” driver. So when I saw the Daimler’s new smartphone app that drives your car out of a tight parking spot for you, I was immediately interested!

The first car available with this feature, the Mercedes Benz 2017 E-Class, was unveiled at the Detroit auto show last month.

Daimler, who previously shared how they use MATLAB and Simulink for modeling and code generation, previewed this “remote parking pilot” technology at the MathWorks Automotive Conference in Stuttgart, Germany in September, 2015. Here’s a video that shows how it works:


Many of today’s vehicles are enabled with are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), with features such as lane departure warnings and hands-free parallel parking. The current systems require a driver at the wheel. With the “remote parking pilot”, the driver controls the car with his or her smartphone via Bluetooth from outside of the vehicle.

“The vehicle can then be moved by control from outside. The parking scenario is enacted automatically – including steering, braking and gear direction changes – as long as the driver continues to provide a confirmation gesture on the smartphone. The driver monitors the process from outside the vehicle and still has complete responsibility for their vehicle during the entire parking process, ” from Daimler’s Global Media Site.

Dr. Eberhard Zeeb of Daimler, AG presented “Implementing Autonomous Cars”, in which he covered currently available ADAS and the fully-autonomous vehicles of the future. There is quite a difference between being amazed about showcases and demos and being flabbergasted by the complexity of turning them into an actual product. In his talk, Dr. Zeeb focuses on what it takes to put autonomous driving into customer hands. Sensing, communication, and control systems are transforming vehicles. From hand-coded C, to using Simulink for control systems, software plays a key role.

While the insurance agencies and government entities work on the legal issues, the engineers will continue to develop to technology that will significantly change the way we drive, or don’t drive!

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