Ever walk into a car park and have absolutely no recollection of where you parked your car? BMW hopes to fix this problem, having announced a new technology that will allow cars to autonomously find spots, park themselves, and pick up owners, all being controlled from a smart watch.
While cars that park themselves are becoming a little more common these days, BMW is taking it to the next level with the Remote Valet Parking Assistant, which has been included in a research version of the BMW i3, using laser sensors and digital plans of car parks to navigate.
"Fully automated parking in multistory car parks -- dynamic and safe even without the driver. The fully automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant in the BMW i3 research vehicle combines information from the laser scanners with the digital site plan of a building, for example a multistory car park," said the company in a statement. "If the driver uses the smart watch to activate the fully-automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant, the system will steer the vehicle independently through the levels, while the driver has already got out of the car and is on his way to a business appointment."
BMW hasn't gone into too many details of the technology yet, however there is speculation that the new smart watch app will be a Samsung exclusive, at least going by the press images, which show a Samsung Gear S being used. Also, it is unknown how many locations will allow for this technology to be used, as it is mentioned that the technology uses digital maps of car parks since the GPS isn't reliable inside a garage.
Once the user is done with shopping or their appointment, they can tell the car to come pick them up at their location, and drive out of the parking lot. The car will also take into account how long it takes to drive to you so that it will be able to time its arrival.
The goal of BMW is to have the technology ready for consumers by 2020, as combining digital site plans and sensor technology marks an important advancement in automated car technology.
"Since January 2013, the BMW Group has been working with international automobile supplier Continental with the aim of moving the project forward," continued the company in its statement. "The overarching goal of the research partnership is to lay the groundwork for highly automated drive functions up to the year 2020 and beyond."
The technology will be shown off at CES 2015, and is likely to be one of the next steps in autonomous cars.