The advent of self-parking vehicles has taken away one of the most challenging manoeuvres in today’s driving – quick parallel parking on a busy downtown street – but it doesn’t much help when it comes to parking in today’s tight shopping mall spaces. Well BMW has an answer for that.
The new 7 Series for 2016 was introduced in June 2015, with the usual fanfare befitting a flagship luxury sedan – it featured all the latest driving assists and ultra-luxury amenities, including a new gesture control feature for the infotainment system (whereby the driver can use several intuitive features to turn up the volume, swipe between screens, etc.
But one of the things that seems to have fallen through the information dissemination cracks is a new parking assist feature that allows the driver to exit the vehicle and park it by remote (a first in a production vehicle, although it has been shown in concept form by a couple companies).
The system ties into the handsfree entry system, using a remote that can stay in a pocket or purse and allow the doors to unlock and the engine to start so long as it is in close proximity to the vehicle. About the size of a flip-phone, the BMW Display Key houses a touchscreen for control over several system displays and vehicle functions. Among those functions, is parking the vehicle without actually being in the driver’s seat.
Say your new 7 Series will fit nicely in your single car garage, but the proximity to the walls is just a little too tight to allow you to exit the vehicle without nicking the doors as you open them. With the new remote parking feature, you can line up the vehicle and exit it, and then use the touchscreen to guide your vehicle straight into the tight spot.
The system uses the proximity sensors to automatically position the vehicle without hitting anything and braking can be over-ridden from the fob. Shut the engine down and go in the house. When it’s time to depart, you can extricate the vehicle by powering up the engine and backing the car straight out, without ever having the expensive paint job even come near to anything that could damage it.
The BMW Display Key will naturally also allow you to open the trunk, doors and windows, as well as control auxiliary heating, and allow you to check on maintenance intervals and fuel level and driving range.