Soon you could have something in common with Knightrider, Batman, and James Bond – a car that comes on command and parks itself. Valets? They’ll go the way of music cassettes if BMW’s Remote Valet Parking Assistant takes off. Self-driving cars have come a long way in recent years, and now the latest development in BMW’s electric i3 car will enable it to find free spots in multi-storey parking garages, park itself, and pick you up when you’re ready, all at the touch of a smartwatch.
The big breakthrough is that the i3 does not require GPS to operate, and unlike other self-driving innovations, it will not require the parking garage to have external technology, since it operates independent of the parking garage. The i3 uses four laser scanners and state-of-the-art mapping technology to steer around its surroundings, identify hazards (e.g. pedestrians, other vehicles), and automatically brakes as required.
The BMW i3 will hit the Consumer Electronics Show from January 6th-9th in Las Vegas, but there is no word yet when the Remote Valet Parking Assistant is expected to be available for commercial use.