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Friday, January 2, 2015

BMW laser car parking technology ! - just speak to smartwatch !!!

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916.  Headquartered in Munich, Bavaria, it also owns and produces Mini cars, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.  Its new variant ‘BMW i3’  [previously Mega City Vehicle (MCV)], is a five-door urban electric car, its first zero emissions mass-produced vehicle due to its electric powertrain. BMW is the first company to launch a volume production vehicle on the market featuring carbon-fiber reinforced plastic to improve the vehicle's energy consumption.  According to the manufacturer,  BMW i stands for a visionary automobile and a new understanding of premium mobility characterised by a consistent alignment towards sustainability.

Cars look attractive and cruise on roads – one would envy people sitting on beautiful cars, grazing their way on the roads – driving looks simple.  For a learner, one must be familiar with the car controls and functions.  Elementary, they might say – ABC pedals -  turn on the ignition, sit erect, press the clutch pedal, move the gear gently, release the clutch smoothly and accelerate slowly.  The vehicle revs and moves around nicely – reads simple -  those of us, who drive know well, how difficult it was initially. 

At a time when one feels to have acquired some level of mastery in steering control and navigation, parking is a task.  Parking the vehicle near a kerb and reversing a vehicle require special skills – a small error of judgment can cause some damage to one’s prized possession.  In high-end models, there are special aides like parking sensors –  with modern gadgets, in some luxury cars, there are automated parking utilities where one can relax, get guided by the instructions to have the vehicle parked properly.  A combination of the cars sensors and the back up camera allows the onboard computer to adjust the angle of traction and speed depending on the proximity of nearby vehicles. Once the car is brought into position, the Intelligent Park Assist System will inform the driver that the parking operation has been executed successfully, and that you are free to take over control or kill the engine and simply walk out.

There are malls, multiplexes and commercial complexes, where there will be valets, who take over the vehicle and take care of the parking – here is something on automated car parking – technology at its best !...

Munich-based BMW has unveiled technology that can park your car - It uses four lasers on the car to create a virtual map of the car park.   There’s nothing worse than forgetting where you’ve parked your car in a multi-storey car park.  MailOnline reports that the new feature of BMW  allows the car to park by itself and return to you at the touch of a button.   When a voice command is spoken into a smartwatch, the car will leave its space and drive to the exit, calculating the time it will take so that it arrives just as you get there. The new technology, known as the Remote Valet Parking Assistant, is being tested on Munich-based BMW’s i3 vehicle. Instead of GPS, the technology uses four laser scanners on the car, which create a virtual map of the building, to navigate. When arriving at the car park, the driver need only get out of the vehicle and activate the feature. The car will then recognise the structural features of the car park, and ‘equally reliably steers round any obstaces that appear unexpectedly - such as incorrectly parked vehicles,’ according to BMW.

According to its makers, it can even look for a parking spot and recognise which ones are empty. The company hasn’t said what would happen if it doesn’t manage to find one, though, such in a busy car park in London or New York. The technology is being developed alongside other new features such as 360-degree collision avoidance. This uses the laser scanners to record the environment and identify obstacles such as columns or walls. The car will automatically find an empty space and lock itself there.  If the system detects a collision is imminent, it brakes automatically.

BMW also says the use of lasers over GPS is better, as the latter is ‘not at all precise’ in multi-storey car parks. The system does not require specially designed car parks; it can work in any pre-existing car park without any additional infrastructure. When the driver comes back they speak into the watch again to be picked up.  Amazing technology indeed.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

17th Dec 2014.

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