Researchers of the FZI Develop an Autonomous Car Park Management in Karlsruhe

Electric vehicles of different degrees of automation shall be able to autonomously park in a car park in Karlsruhe. The maps of the area used in the project are available open source. The initiative is funded by the State of Baden-Württemberg with over EUR 400,000.

Karlsruhe, 14.10.2019 – Within the Test Area Autonomous Driving Baden-Württemberg, staff members of the FZI Research Center for Information Technology currently research new concepts for an intelligent coordination of autonomous vehicles in car parks. The project SmartEPark aims to develop a new flexible communication of car park infrastructure with vehicles of different degrees of automation and manufacturers.

Prospectively, autonomous e-cars shall be routed to parking spots and charging stations without drivers, which brings several advantages: The scarce parking space can be better used, since the cars can be parked closer. Nobody has to get out or in, which saves time for the drivers, since they easily hand over the car.  They don't have to look for parking spots and don't even need to park. For their tests, the researchers of the FZI equip the car park "Am Fasanengarten" in Karlsruhe with mobile sensors, such as all-around cameras or LiDAR sensors.  Roadside units communicate via WLAN with cars driving in, report any detected obstacles by the sensors to them and guide them to free parking spots or charging stations. "With the project SmartEPark we aim to ensure that not only fully automated, but also semi-autonomous cars can drive independently to free spots in car parks or, in order to recharge electric vehicles, to charging stations," states Professor J. Marius Zöllner, member of the FZI's Board of Executive Directors and scientific director for "Technical Cognitive Assistance Systems". "The intelligence has thus to be more on the side of the car park infrastructure, which adjusts the information onto the different vehicles."

In the framework of the project, researchers of the FZI evaluate open maps regarding their suitability for various driving systems, so that the transition from the manufacturers maps, which are used by autonomous vehicles to drive on the road, to those of the car park management system, can take place smoothly. "In order for a car park to communicate with vehicles of various manufacturers and degrees of automation, a common language is required," explains Philip Schörner, research scientist at the FZI.

Researchers of the FZI reproduce faithfully the vehicle as well as the car park environment in a simulation programme and test the functionalities, which can be later implemented in real-life scenarios, at the same time. The idea is to research, in which format parking spots and other environmental spots  in car parks can be highlighted best, in order to be readable for as many vehicles as possible or how vehicles can be directed best to their parking spot. Associated partners of the project SmartEPartk are the automobile manufacturer Porsche, the Parkraumgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg mbH as well as the company Scheidt & Bachmann. Until the end of 2021, the project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Art Baden-Württemberg and the Ministry of Transport Baden-Württemberg with around EUR 400,000.

About the FZI Research Center for Information Technology

The FZI Research Center for Information Technology, with its head office in Karlsruhe and a branch office in Berlin, is a non-profit institution for applied research in information technology and technology transfer. Its task is to provide businesses and public institutions with the latest research findings in information technology. It also qualifies young researchers for their career in academics or business as well as self-employment. Led by professors from different faculties, research teams at the FZI interdisciplinarily develop and prototype concepts, software, hardware and system solutions for their clients. The FZI House of Living Labs provides a unique research environment for applied research. The FZI is the innovation partner of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).


Press contact

FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik
Julia Feilen
Telefon: +49 721 9654-943
E-Mail: feilen[at]