LAS VEGAS—We’ve seen a first generation of self-parking cars that need a little help from the driver. And at CES 2015 we’re getting a peek the next generation, which doesn’t even need you to be in the car, and it really does do everything by itself.
BMW showed us a research vehicle whose Remote Valet Parking Assistant uses high-resolution laser scanners built into the car’s body to capture data on its surroundings.
The experiment limited the car’s speed to about 15 mph, which was more than fast enough to tool around the top of the parking tower at SLS Hotel.
The car was controlled using an Android Wear app. A BMW staffer tapped a few times on the screen to launch the app.
I sat in the car’s front passenger seat while it tooled slowly around the lot to find an open spot. Then, on command from the app, it left its spot and went back to the staffer, nice as you please.
No one enjoys looking for a parking spot in a packed garage. And if you hate parking in general—the backing in and positioning, the concerns about fitting between poles or hitting a wall—it’s just a lose-lose. Remote Valet Parking Assistant could solve those problems in about five years, BMW says.
Melissa Riofrio spent her formative journalistic years reviewing some of the biggest iron at PCWorld--desktops, laptops, storage, printers--and she continued to focus on hardware testing during stints at Computer Currents and CNET. Currently, in addition to leading PCWorld’s content direction, she covers productivity laptops and Chromebooks.