Isn’t it frustrating when you’re getting late for an appointment and you’re not finding a spot in a multi-storey car park? It would have been much better if your car could handle the parking job for you. Well, that’s exactly what the tech guys at BMW say its Remote Valet Parking system would do. BMW has been working on self-driving carssince 2009. The company has announced that it will be showing off its sensor-filled BMW i3 car at CES 2015 in Las Vegas in January.
Luxury automobile maker BMW isn’t the first company to introduce self-parking car. Audi and Volvo showed off their own autonomous parking concept car at CES 2013. The BMW i3 research vehicle works with the help of four laser sensors that can map and identify hazards within an environment so it can navigate safely amidst other motorists and pedestrian. BMW calls the system a “Remote Valet Parking Assistant” that can be operated via a smartwatch.
Drivers using the tech can enter a multi-storey building and then leave their car, safe in the knowledge that the system will steer the vehicle through the garage levels around the posts and other structures. Once it parks up, the i3 locks itself and awaits the command to return and pick up the owner.
Once you’re ready to leave the complex, you can call up the car while you’re still in the lift through voice command. The app then works out the exact time until you arrive at the car park and starts up the BMW i3 so that it arrives at the car park exit at exactly the right time.
The system is equipped with a digital floor plan which helps the car to navigate around without the need for GPS, which wouldn’t be accurate enough. The system also helps in avoiding collisions when you’re driving the car. For example, if the car detected that it was approaching a pillar too quickly, the brakes would be applied and the vehicle brought to control.
BMW’s Remote Valet Parking Assistant can potentially function in tight and poorly-lit environments provided the site plan is available.