Smiling Young Woman Sitting In Car And Giving Car Key To Valet

Here’s How New Technology Could Change ‘Valet Parking’

German automaker BMW recently unveiled what could be the future of valet parking at this year’s CES in Las Vegas (formally known as the Consumer Electronics Show.) According to a report from Motor Trend, the new technology would employ professional remote valet parkers who drive, park, and bring cars back while controlling them from an operations center.

Describing the valet control center as a “racing simulator rig,” Motor Trend also alleges that the technology to make a teleoperated valet service fully functional today already exists.

How Remote Valet Parking Works.

According to their report, BMW equipped the demonstration vehicle, their 2024 iX electronic SUV, with special software; however, the cellular connectivity, cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors, and controls were the standard in most production vehicles. The particular software connects the car to the remote operator setup, which resembles a “video-game-style” setup consisting of pedals, a steering wheel, and screens for visual feed.

The primary screen gives the operator live feed from the vehicle’s front or rear camera. Additional monitors flank this setup to simulate a 360-degree view around the vehicle for the operator. The operator’s setup also sports touch screens next to the steering wheel that can engage or disengage remote driving operations, shifting from park to drive and reverse. These touch screens also allow the valet operator to check the system’s connectivity status.

For now, BMW is allowing the use of their remote valet system in a limited capacity. For example, the vehicle cannot travel at a speed greater than 6 miles per hour, and if the car senses anything approaching it, it will automatically reduce its speed. Turning the steering wheel will also reduce the vehicle’s speed when remote operation. The car will also automatically brake when the operator releases the accelerator. Additionally, the vehicle will stop itself if it senses that a collision will occur.

Interestingly, the valet operator will not park the vehicle. They will only drive the car to an open parking spot while BMW’s automatic parking feature does the actual parking.

BMW’s Parking Vision.

According to Motor Trend’s report, 40 percent of BMW owners already use BMW’s automatic parking feature, and the automaker sees its teleoperated valet parking service as the next step towards the development of fully automated parking. BMW alleges that a single remote valet operator could manage cars for as many as 20 parking structures. They also believe that their remote valet technology will have applications for managing car fleets, like rental car lots, more accessible than ever.

BMW aims to have its remote valet operation active within five years. The hope is that other automakers will jump on board with their tech so that it can become a standard throughout the industry.

Volkswagen has plans similar to those of their future vehicles, using automated valet parking that will involve the vehicle’s autonomous driving functions and the parking structure itself communicating to find an open spot for the car. However, VW’s plan will not include any remote drivers.

Author: Jarret Hendrickson

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