VWVortex is currently in Germany with Volkswagen to talk about future technology. The trip will culminate later this week in the launch of VW’s first MEB concept that's headed for production, but as a teaser to that, they’ve been showing a cadre of journalists new technology that you may soon see on your car.

The first of these technologies is Trained Parking and though it was premiered at CES in 2015 Volkswagen says it’s nearly ready to go. The technology is like an autonomous valet: you teach your car a short route—say, from the door of your office building to your parking spot—and it can repeat that route without you.


The system works by using the forward and backwards facing cameras that many new Volkswagens come with anyway (for park assist, more on that in a later article) to create a 3D map of a short route. The car can then go from any place on the map to either end of the route you programed.

So, in the case of our test, it ran from one parking spot to another spot across a rather large parking lot and back. In the above example, it could go from your parking spot to your office door and then come back to pick you up after work. Not only that, but it could go to either point from any location on the course you showed it.

That’s because the system doesn’t just repeat your inputs—that would require you to start from the exact same location every time. Instead, it drives autonomously and slowly, using the camera mentioned above and the parking sensors to navigating using landmarks and avoiding obstacles all on its own.


Ideally, Park Training would probably be operated by an app, but commanding it from your key is being discussed, and on the e-Golf that I climbed into, the system could be initiated by tapping on the roof.

The technology is still in pre-development, but the engineer I spoke to, Dr Torsten Buschenfeld was confident that it would be headed to development shortly.

That's because the system works. For short little drives, it will find its destination easily. The development stage, will more likely be about fine tuning and sorting out the legality of a car that can drive itself without anyone in it.


If all goes well, though, Buschenfeld predicts that the technology could be on the road in fewer than five years. Along with that, Volkswagen now says that it wants its innovation to be meaningful, meaning that at least 20% drivers have to pick it up, so if Trained Parking comes to market, it’s likely to come without much of a premium since it doesn’t really use new hardware, just software.

Although the technology is undoubtedly neat, and the idea of the car parking itself is appealing, it sounds a little like a solution to a problem that most people don’t really have. That said, Buschenfeld suggests that Park Training could be useful for electric cars if plans for an induction charging pad come to fruition. So, just like a Roomba, your car could find it's way back to its charging spot.