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Would you let your smartwatch park your car?
Some days we struggle to make our smartwatches send a text, so the news that BMW is developing a car (an actual whole real car) that can be controlled by one has sent our eyebrows up into space.
Coming to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, the BMW i3 will use four advanced laser scanners to record the environment and identify potential obstacles, such as the columns in a multi-storey car park. As part of what BMW calls the Remote Valet Parking Assistant (RVPA), the i3 combines the information from the laser scanners with the digital site plan of the building, allowing it to steer the vehicle – on its own – through the car park levels while “the driver has already got out of the car and is on his way to a business appointment”. That wouldn’t be nerve-wracking at all.
So while you’re already in the elevator, the i3 has arrived at the parking space, having negotiated incorrectly parked cars and people, parked and locked itself. Now… it waits. Once your meeting is finished (“Sorry, I’m going to have to dash, just want to make sure my car hasn’t driven itself to Vegas”) you just have to call it by voice command via smartwatch. The RVPA then calculates the exact time until the you arrive back at the car park, starts itself up and drives to meet you. What happens if all 20 people in the meeting have an i3 and leave at the same time, we’re not sure.
The car will also halt in front of obstacles while you’re actually driving it, but it will release the brakes when you steer to safety. Not a car we’d like to hijack during a game of GTA, but great for safety.
We’ve covered futuristic transport before, from jetpacks to hoverbikes, but a car we can call to us like a dog? Extraordinary.