There's recently been a fair bit of debate over the virtues of reverse parking versus the inconvenience caused to other road users. Alright, to be fair it's a pretty one-sided debate: many companies employ reverse parking for safety reasons, and some longer vehicles can only be parked in reverse, but for Audi's new automated parking systems it is no longer an issue. Self learning is the next level in piloted driving as it adds high levels of flexibility when the system is presented with a new situation.
At the NIPS (Neural Information Processing Systems) Conference and Workshop this year, Audi has presented a small slice of this new self-learning system in the form of automated parking. A scaled-down model of an Audi Q2 is placed in a bullpen of sorts and made to navigate its way into a metal frame that represents a parking spot. The model is outfitted with automated controls for steering and movement, as well as 10 ultrasonic sensors and a mono camera at each end for vision.
The system effectively learns how to maneuver itself into the spot, even if it may be in an awkward position- so long as it is physically possible. Even if the system requires a hundred different minute adjustments, it will find a way to position itself in the final parking space (as long as it will fit). Arguably this kind of system may not be entirely necessary when there is already talk of stand-off behaviour (where the car may stay a distance away and come to the location when you require pickup), but it is still nifty to have if you're in a hurry and don't want to hunt for a space. Let's just hope you can find your car when it's done.