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BMW i3’s push-button parallel parking

At CES 2014, BMW demonstrated one of its self-driving features: automated parallel parking at the push of a button.
Wayne Cunningham
by Wayne Cunningham January 6, 2014 2:07 PM PST

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BMW i3 self-parking

The BMW i3 backs into the parking spot, dealing with steering and braking on its own.
(Credit: Wayne Cunningham/CNET)

LAS VEGAS — BMW tends to do things its own way, which is the case with the new automated parallel parking system for the new i3. Unlike similar systems from other automakers, the driver of the i3 can keep hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals while the car parks itself.

During a demonstration at CES 2014, I sat in the driver’s seat of the i3 electric car. BMW stationed a row of cars along a curb, with one relatively small space open for parallel parking. When I was ready to find a spot, I pressed a button on the car’s console. The car’s ultrasonic sensors scanned to right and left to look for a space.

After I passed the open spot, the car indicated on its main LCD that it found suitable parking, and advised me to put my foot on the brake. For the next step, I had to use the turn signal to indicate the side for the parking space, a nice feature to alert people behind me of my intentions.

BMW i3 self-parking

The i3 shows the driver parking instructions on its main LCD.
(Credit: Wayne Cunningham/CNET)

Then I had merely to hold down the button on the console, take my hands off the wheel and lift my feet from the pedals, and the car reversed into the space. It backed up as much as it could, then jogged back and forth a little bit to align itself to the curb.

The result was perfect parallel parking with little effort on my part.
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