Can You Really Summon A Self-Parking Car With Your Smart Watch? Leave it to your car to fight for that prized parking space

TechRadar: By

The hours we spend over a lifetime searching for that elusive free parking space are a complete waste of time and energy, and those big brains at BMW are saying enough is enough.

Soon you may not have to spend one more moment behind the wheel than is absolutely necessary, with BMW set to unveil a self-parking car system as CES 2015 that will drop you off and pick you up from a given point – having parked itself in the interim.

Dubbed the Remote Valet Parking Assistant, the system has been built into a research vehicle based on the BMW i3 electric car. It features four on-board laser scanners that enable the vehicle to navigate the tight twists and turns of a multi-story car park, while another system oversees propulsion, steering and braking.

The idea is to enable you to pull up at the local shopping complex's entrance, exit the vehicle, and leave your car to navigate the car park until it finds an empty space and then parks itself using millimetre-accurate mapping technology.

At your beck and call

Once you've finished shopping for groceries – having gone back to buy the milk you forgot the first time around – a simple spoken command into the BMW app on your smartwatch summons your car back to the point where it dropped you off.

Amazingly, BMW claims the system does not require expensive infrastructure to be built into car parks in order for it to work.

With this all sounding more like something you'd see in a Bond film, BMW has understandably declined to provide a time frame for when the Remote Valet Parking Assistant will be available in regular production models.

BMW has hinted that elements of the system – such as automatic braking when hazards are detected – could be used to assist human drivers while we wait for the arrival of the entirely autonomous experience.