Loomo, the parking robot

The Eternal Quest to Find a Parking Space is Over

What should developers do? Exactly, develop – particularly when they are still students. All the better if this leads to solutions to everyday woes such as the tiresome search for a parking space. But it may then be the case that car drivers no longer rule what happens on company car parks. This is what happened at IAV in Gifhorn. In successful pilot tests, a small, mobile robot has guided vehicles searching for somewhere to park directly and autonomously to free spaces.

Our ‘Connected Software Systems & Services’ division made this possible. Created specifically for students, this project enabled two interns to gain scientific and resultoriented work experience in the fields of robotics and autonomous driving as part of their final thesis. The result is called “Loomo”, the parking robot.

Loomo – a Segway and robot in one – is a platform for developers and designers. We equipped it with various sensors and an open-source computer, thus transforming a Segway into an autonomous vehicle. The free parking spaces are detected by a camera system called ‘Eagle Eye’ positioned on the neighboring building. Blessed with this perfect overview, image recognition algorithms identify suitable spaces between the cars and transmit these to the robot. Then Loomo takes over – what happens next is already known.

automotion - Loomo der Parkroboter zwischen Autos

But standstill is not an option for Loomo – another student has already embarked on its further development. Lidar sensors and ‘differential GPS’ are on the list – Loomo will soon benefit from the advantages of ‘sensor fusion’: the most autonomous navigation possible thanks to a number of different data sources and the holistic evaluation of these.

And what does IAV gain when students are allowed to research and try things out at the company? More know-how and new, skilled employees. The two former student researchers are now part of the development team surrounding head of division Kai Feuerstake and will be ensuring that such developments are successfully put into production in the future.

The article was published in automotion 01/2020, the automotive engineering magazine of IAV. Here you can order the automotion free of charge.

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