BMW has announced that it’ll be showing off its latest self-driving car at Las Vegas’ CES gadget expo in January 2015 – and this one can respond to your voice commands.
The autonomous i3 packs four laser sensors that afford its computer-brain a 360-degree image of its surroundings. That means that, when placed in a multi-storey car park, it’s able to navigate around objects like columns, pedestrians and other vehicles, locate a parking spot and manoeuvre itself in. All without any input from its driver.
READ MORE: BMW i8 review
And here’s the good part: when you’re done with your shopping/movie-watching/dinner/insert other activity and are heading back to the car park, you can simply speak into your smartwatch to kick off the Remote Valet Parking Assistant. This will calculate how long it’ll take you to walk back to the car park entrance, then tell the car to start autonomously driving from its parking space to the entrance so that it’s waiting for you when you arrive. (This also works the other way, so you can drop your car off at the car park entrance and have it park itself.)
At last year’s CES, Audi demonstrated an A7 coupé that could drive itself around a car park and slot itself into a space while you’re already on your way to the casino, but BMW says its new system is better because it relies on its own laser sensors – Audi’s requires that the car park have a laser grid pre-installed, so it won’t work just anywhere.
We’ll be at CES, which runs from 6-9 January, and we’ll endeavour to get a look at BMW’s new autonomous time-saver.
READ MORE: All Stuff’s self-driving car coverage