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BMW shines at CES

Park life: BMW wowed visitors to this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with a host of new technology including its i3 which will park itself while you go shopping.

Impressive new tech from BMW lights up the Consumer Electronics Show


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8 Jan 2015

BMW’s laser-guided self-parking i3 has headlined a showcase of technology at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that also includes gesture control systems, over-the-air navigation, wireless charging and laser headlights.

Not to be outdone by Volkswagen with its gesture control system seen at CES this year in the Golf R Touch concept, BMW showed off its version, which allows the user to input a destination into the navigation using hand waves.

The technology is likely to appear first in BMW’s high-end next-generation 7 Series, due this year.

Also on show at CES but available now, is over-the-air map updates for the latest generation of BMW’s Professional navigation system. New map data is now transmitted to the car for free via the internet through a smartphone connection.

BMW also chose the event to demonstrate its new wireless charging tech which is still in the research phase. The system consists of two coils – one attached to the undercarriage of a vehicle and the other to the floor of the garage where it is parked.

Electric currents are passed between the coil using an alternating magnetic field and without a cable. BMW said an i8 takes two hours to be charged in this way.

While BMW’s laser headlights debuted in a production vehicle when the i8 launched last year, the M4 Concept Iconic Lights demonstration at CES was designed to showcase further possibilities for the lighting technology.

Equipped with laser diodes made from organic material the concept’s OLED headlights can cast a beam up to 600 metres while using the navigation system to adapt to the terrain.

During this year’s CES, BMW used the top floor of a multi-story car park to demonstrate an experimental i3 equipped with the Remote Valet Parking Assistant. The system uses four laser scanners to identify its surrounds and correlate them with a digital floor plan to locate its exact position.

Following a command given remotely through a Samsung smart watch the experimental i3 was able to navigate itself autonomously through the building before finding and parking itself in an empty space. The car can then be called back to the owner with the watch.

The advantage of the system is that it does not locate its position using use GPS, which is prone to inaccuracy in built-up areas.

The system has 360-degree vision and is able to monitor the building for obstacles, including moving vehicles, while steering and braking to avoid a collision.

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