BMW owners won't need to find a parking space ever again

Finding a parking space and fitting your ride into the spot is about to become a thing of the past after BMW announced its driverless car plans for CES 2015 in Las Vegas next month.

The German automobile manufacturer gave us a peek on plans to introduce a new self-driving car that is equipped with four laser sensors that allow it to create a 360-degree map of the surroundings.

BMW’s new automated i3 uses these sensors to prevent collisions when out on the road and the four laser assistants are the centrepieces of its new fully automated parking service.

The Remote Valet Parking Assistant, which is activated by smartwatch, allows a car to be parked in a multi-storey car park by using the i3 laser scanners to map the structure of the car park as well as the position of other cars, even those parked incorrectly, and park itself.

When the car is at a parking space it locks itself and waits for further instructions from the smartwatch. Remarkably the car is just as responsive when you need to go home by calculating the exact time the driver will return to the car and navigating it to the car park exit at the right time to pick them up.

BMW also explained in its press release that the navigation would be done without the use of GPS signals that are notoriously unreliable inside structures like car parks where a clear view of the sky is not usually available.

“Alongside the laser sensors, the research vehicle also has the processing units and necessary algorithms on board and this means it can determine its exact position in the car park, monitor the environment perfectly, and carry out independent and fully automated navigation. It is not necessary to provide car parks, for example, with complex infrastructure in order to allow cars to orientate and navigate around the area safely,” read the release.

Audi demonstrated the A7 coupé at CES 2014 that was able to get itself around a car park and find a space whilst you’re already on the way to the casino. The one distinct difference between the two German car giants is that Audi’s requires a pre-installed laser grid and therefore won’t work everywhere like BMW’s claims to be able to.

Whilst it can do all of this there was no indication whether the i3 can do the one thing to stop you losing money – buy a ticket.