CES 2015: BMW introduces self-parking by smartwatch

13.01.2015 BMW : CES 2015 : Smartwatch
Rowland Manthorpe trials the new BMW i3 Self Driving car, CES 2015

Las Vegas – BMW has developed the first car that can be parked using a smartwatch. At 2015 International CES, LS:N Global took a spin in the self-driving car.

BMW’s Remote Valet Parking Assistant lets drivers connect their Samsung Galaxy Gear or Asus ZenWatch to an electric BMW i3 using the BMW i Remote app for Android. The app is part of BMWi Connected Mobility, a smartphone and smartwatch system that the German automotive manufacturer plans to use to offer services such as navigation assistance and calendar reminders. Future versions of the smartwatch app will include features such as unlocking by gesture control.

Semi-autonomous self-parking has been available for several years, so this is at best an incremental innovation. To show off its progress in the direction of full automation, BMW gave LS:N Global a ride in the research version of the i3, which contained an innovative scanning system that can perform ‘360-degree Collision Avoidance’. In other words, this car can stop you from crashing.

The dream of truly self-driving cars – which could put automotive brands out of business by making driving an unnecessary hassle – remains a distant one, however. Dr Moritz Werling, project leader on BMW’s Collision Avoidance project, estimated that self-driving would not be widespread until 2025. Even when it does arrive, said Werling, it will be less momentous than we expect. ‘In the meantime,’ he told LS:N Global, ‘we will have so many other improvements that will help so much that you won’t really notice when the last great step has been done.’

CES has become an increasingly important date in the diaries of car manufacturers, with a record number exhibiting at this year’s show. For more from the world’s biggest technology exhibition, keep an eye on our Seed and Insight coverage.

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