BMW Australia has announced that an autonomous self-parking feature will be available on Australian-delivered 7 Series vehicles by the end of 2016.
The feature, which is currently available on the new BMW 7 Series vehicles overseas, was disabled locally due to government legislation that requires an occupant to be in the car while it is being operated.
“We do have a self parking feature on the 7 Series and it’s something that is available in overseas markets…and it will be this year [available locally],” said general manager of corporate communications, Lenore Fletcher.
“It’s going to be in the second half, possibly late in the third quarter [of 2016] that we’re going to see that product here.”
Fletcher said that the company has been working closely with the government and legislative authorities to get the technology across the line. The Tesla Model S has a similar feature, which was activated recently in Australia after an over-the-air software update.
“With all the technology we see coming in, it’s something the legislative bodies are aware of, we have great relationships with different departments and it’s something that we’re in constant conversation with. With everything that comes in it presents challenges for this legislation and requirements of the Australian government.”
The parking feature allows the driver to stand outside the vehicle while it parks itself in a parking space or garage.
The driver operates the parking procedure via the smart key and is able to stop the process at any time. The vehicle has built in systems and countless sensors to also monitor the parking procedure.
Unfortunately for early buyers of the new BMW 7 Series, the system cannot be fitted retrospectively.
Does this pave the way for new and future autonomous technologies in Australia?