Autonomous Parking Comes to Maryland Airport

Often airport lots are pretty crowded and could be confusing. It could seemingly take forever to find a spot. Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to worry about parking your car? This luxury may be closer than you think. One Maryland airport is testing artificial intelligence that will park your car for you.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) will soon begin testing autonomous parking technology. The testing will take place at the airport’s hourly garage and a nearby commuter lot. The technology comes from Maryland based Steer Tech, who has been running tests at BWI on a closed course since 2018. During the closed course testing, there were zero accidents and no safety issues. Steer felt it was time to test the autonomous tech in a live setting.

autonomous parking Steer BWI Airport - YellRobot
credit: Steer

Self Parking Cars Will Operate in Live Environment

At the airport, Steer cars will operate right alongside human-driven vehicles and pedestrians. The autonomous cars will be clearly marked and signs will be posted at the testing locations.

“Steer Tech is bringing automated vehicle technology to the marketplace. We believe that innovations like this autonomous parking solution will help travelers save time and deliver a more enjoyable airport experience,” said BWI’s executive director, Ricky Smith.

Autonomous Parking Via Steer App

The autonomous parking process is pretty simple. Once a customer exits the vehicle, they use the Steer app to command the car to park itself. The car will then drive into the parking lot and find a suitable spot. When a customer is ready to retrieve their vehicle, they simply summon the car via the app and it comes to their location.

Onboard cameras and sensors help the vehicle navigate the area and locate a parking spot. The software is able to react and adjust the route in real time. Steer’s autonomous parking system is independent of computing platforms and portable to many architectures meaning the tech can be retrofitted to most vehicles.

autonomous parking Steer BWI Airport - YellRobot
credit: Steer

Autonomous Parking Cars Could Improve Efficiency and Safety

Along with better customer experience, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) feels that employing tech like autonomous parking will lead to improved safety, reduced emissions, increased mobility, and more efficient freight movement at the airport.

“MDOT is a national leader in using innovation to make our transportation network easier to use. Delivering a system that parks your car for you is perfect for BWI Marshall – an easy-come, easy-go airport,” said MDOT secretary Pete K Rahn.

Check out our articles on the world’s first VR Bumper Cars and driverless cars in Guangzhou.