Whoa nelly! Volkswagen has modded a stock Passat Wagon with a variety of sensors and a built-in computer system to enable the vehicle to park itself. Of course, it doesn’t know how to avoid obstacles, such as people, and requires a schematic of the parking lot’s layout.
When you arrive at your desired location, you’d step out of the vehicle at say the restaurant’s front entrance. Then with the tap of a button on your iPhone (but of course) the vehicle would go in search of an empty parking space. When you leave the restaurant you ‘call’ your vehicle back. Simple as that.
As for the equipment: the test vehicle, which is a Standford research vehicle, uses the preexisting front radar system (that’s part of the car’s cruise control system) and a camera mounted in front of the rear view mirror (this is currently available as part of VW’s night driving assistance). The only thing used in this test vehicle that isn’t stock, aside from the computer, are something called LIDAR, which is like RADAR but uses light instead.