Searching for a parking space can take up quite a bit of time during a commute, but the Volkswagen Group is looking to give time back to its customers. How? By providing its future cars with the capability to look for a parking space and parking itself automatically.

This autonomous parking technology is currently being tested as part of a pilot project at the Hamburg Airport. The test involves Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi vehicles that have been equipped with an “active surroundings recognition system,” allowing them to identify an open parking space and entering them.

A smartphone app is used to initiate the process where drivers will first book a parking space at the airport. They then only need to leave their vehicle at the entrance of the parking garage, and the vehicle will proceed to park itself, making the proper adjustments should an electric charging station is required.

There’s also the option to use the vehicle’s boot as a drop-off point for packages or dry cleaning while the driver is away, adding to the convenience offered.

Once you need to collect your car, simply access the app again and call upon your car to meet you. The car will then drive itself to the exit, with all parking charges paid through the app.

Currently, the pilot project will involve areas of the multi-storey car park directly opposite Terminal 2 that are closed off to normal traffic. With sufficient data, tests in more real-world conditions involving other vehicles and pedestrians are set to take place.

According to Volkswagen, German spend an average of 41 hours a year looking for a parking space, the British spend 44 hours and New Yorkers spend 107 hours. This function should help reduce those figures, and will make its way into the first Group vehicles by 2020.

“Autonomous parking can make an important contribution to creating convenient, stress-free mobility for our customers. We therefore want to democratise the technology and make it accessible to as many people as possible,” said Johann Jungwirth, chief digital officer of the Volkswagen Group.