We’re one step closer to having our car drop us off at the entrance to the mall and have it go and successfully park itself only to return upon our request. Tesla hinted at it earlier this past year and now BMW has taken the first steps to make this a reality.
Here is the text from their press release about their self-valeting vehicle.
Munich/Las Vegas. BMW was already demonstrating at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 how perfect control technology can provide highly automated mastery of all drive statuses right through to very tight margins. Innovative sensors will allow BMW to demonstrate a number of features at the CES 2015 (6 to 9 January, Las Vegas) including the possibility of entirely collision-free driving. This success plots another benchmark defined by the specialists at the BMW Group on the road route to individual mobility free of accidents with a driver and also in fully-automated mode with no driver at all.
The platform for 360-degree collision avoidance is secure position and environment recognition. The research vehicle is a BMW i3. Four advanced laser scanners record the environment and reliably identify impediments such as columns, for example in a multi-storey car park. If the vehicle approaches a wall or a column too quickly, the system brakes automatically to prevent the threat of collision. The vehicle is brought to a standstill very precisely with centimetres to spare. If the driver steers away from the obstacle or changes direction, the system releases the brakes. This system relieves the burden on the driver in an environment with poor visibility and makes a further contribution to enhanced safety and comfort. Like all BMW assistance systems, this research application can be overridden at any time by the driver.
Fully automated parking in multi-storey car parks – dynamic and safe even without the driver. The fully automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant in the BMW i3 research vehicle combines information from the laser scanners with the digital site plan of a building, for example a multi-storey car park. If the driver uses the Smartwatch to activate the fully-automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant, the system will steer the vehicle independently through the levels, while the driver has already got out of the car and is on his way to a business appointment. The fully automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant recognises the structural features of the car park and equally reliably steers round any obstacles that appear unexpectedly – such as incorrectly parked vehicles. Once the BMW i3 has arrived at the parking space, the vehicle locks itself and waits to be called by Smartwatch and voice command. The fully automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant then calculates the exact time until the driver arrives at the car park and starts up the BMW i3 so that it arrives at the car park exit at exactly the right time.
Navigation without GPS signals.
BMW has succeeded in achieving fully automated control of the vehicle by connecting up vehicle sensor systems and a digital site plan. This avoids dependence on the GPS signal, which is not at all precise in multi-storey car parks. 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.
Source: BMW Press