At the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month, BMW will be showcasing two technologies – a ‘360-degree Collision Avoidance System’ and ‘Remote Valet Parking Assistant’ – in what the company deems as the next key steps towards a future where automated driving is the norm.

With the ‘360-degree Collision Avoidance System’ installed on a BMW i3, the car is able to automatically apply braking power should it sense an impending collision with various obstacles such as pillars and fixed structures. It’s only when the driver steers the car away from the obstacle that the system releases the brakes.

By employing four laser scanners, the system records the surrounding environment and processes the feedback, identifying obstructions around the car and preventing the driver from colliding with said impediments. BMW says that the system will come in handy in low-visibility conditions.


In addition, the automaker has also succeeded in fully automating control of the car by relaying the vehicle’s sensors to a digital site plan, negating the need for a GPS signal, which is not always accurate. The test car is capable of determining its exact position in the car park and navigate itself remotely.

The ensemble of sensors onboard, coupled to the car’s ability to process its environment, leads to what BMW calls a ‘Remote Valet Parking Assistant’. As far-fetched as this may sound, the system allows the driver to disembark his/her vehicle at the entrance of a building while the car drives itself away to a parking slot.

Using a Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch – co-developed with BMW to enhance the i3 driving experience – the driver simply activates the system, allowing the car to drive itself autonomously around a multi-storey parking lot, locate a vacant spot and park itself.


With the provided algorithms, the car is able to detect aforementioned obstacles and even poorly parked vehicles. Upon the driver’s request – again accomplished via the smartwatch – the car is able to determine the estimated time of arrival for the driver to reach the car park exit and meet him/her there.

BMW is no stranger to technologies relating to automated driving as the company has invested in such platforms as far back as 2009, where a car was able to pilot itself around the North Loop of the Nürburgring. The pilot demo eventually led to the birth of the BMW Track Trainer project.