BMW previews its self-driving car technology: Park your car with a smartwatch!

The past decade has clearly seen some amazing technologies adopted by car manufacturing giants, some way ahead of its time, like BMW‘s fully automated parking without GPS guidance as well as 360-degree collision avoidance tech.

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Seen here in the pictures is the luxury carmaker’s i3 research vehicle, and is equipped with four advanced laser scanners that monitor and read potential hazards, or in this case walls or columns in a multi-storey carpark. The i3 also performs fully automated acceleration, braking, reversing and cornering tasks.

It’s done pretty reliably too, says BMW, and when the i3 approaches a column too quickly, it’s brought to a complete standstill so precise with just centimeters to spare. What about its real world application, you ask? It could help drivers navigate in poor visibility conditions. Like many of their assistance systems, this feature too can be disabled by the driver.

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BMW also brought their autonomous driving tech into wearable gadgetry in the form of a smartwatch. When you’re in a rush for a meeting and find no time to park your car, simply activate the Remote Valet Parking Assistant from your smartwatch and the car will steer its way into a parking lot. It’s so precise it can even manoeuvre around incorrectly parked cars.

The technological breakthrough here is that this technology doesn’t require GPS signals at all. For this to work, all the supporting infrastructure BMW needs is an architectural blueprint of the multi-storey carpark, and it can be potentially used in a broader scale of real-world conditions.

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BMW will showcase the full extent of its autonomous vehicle research technologies in the coming 2015 Consumer Electronics Show from 6 to 9 January.




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