BMW is hard at work trying to end parking lot mishaps. The answer, of course, lies in sensors that will be able to detect when you're about to make a terrible mistake; like trying to squeeze in between another car and a concrete beam or backing up just a little to far as you ram into a wall. Incidents like that will ruin your day. They're also on the verge of being avoidable with BMW's ActiveAssist parking technology.
It's part of a 360-degree collision avoidance system in which four advanced laser scanners record the environment and identify impediments like columns, such as the ones that exist in multi-story parking lots.
"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 centimeters to spare," BMW explains. "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."
The above technology extends into parking, as well. BMW's fully automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant in its BMW i3 research vehicle combines information from the laser scanners with the digital site plan of a building. What's cool -- and James Bond-like -- is that a driver can use a smartwatch to activate the parking assistant. It can avoid unexpected objects, like other cars that are improperly parked.
By using digital site plans to aid with the technology, BMW has found an end-around to relying on a GPS signal, which isn't always precise in a multi-story parking lot.