In Europe, car companies like Audi and BMW have certain autonomous driving features that simply aren’t yet allowed in the United States. The new BMW 7 Series has a remote parking feature that will allow the driver to get out of the car, press a button on the keyfob and the car will then go and park itself. It’s a fantastic feature and one that helps push the boundaries of what autonomous driving can mean for us. However, features like the 7 Series’ autonomous parking are not allows in the US, due to certain safety regulations.
The US Stuffed Shirts seem really to be the party poopers of the world. US legislation always shoots down ideas like this due to antiquated safety regulations. However, this might soon start to change, as Audi is working with a town in Massachusetts to test its new autonomous parking features.
In Somerville, Massachusetts, the mayor, Joseph Curtatone, has granted Audi permission to test its technologies in the town. The idea behind Audi’s autonomous parking is that you can drive to your destination and, instead of finding a parking spot, just drive right up to the front door, get out and have the car find the nearest parking space. This is incredibly helpful, especially in New England, where the weather can be atrocious in the winter. Imagine, driving your Audi Q7 up to the door of the mall, during a snowstorm, and having the car find a parking spot for you without having to walk through the storm yourself. Sounds pretty great, right?
Well that’s exactly the kind of automotive future than Audi CEO, Rupert Stadler, and Mayor Curtatone are trying to build. “The intelligent car can unfold its enormous potential only in an intelligent city,” said Stadler in a statement. “Our joint work on urban innovations and the exchange and analysis of data are the key to beneficial swarm intelligence.”
The idea is that these new self-parking cars can use smaller parking spots and save an enormous amount of space in parking lots. This newfound space in parking lots, town squares and other heavily populated areas. According to Audi representatives, this new program could help save space and reduce cost in Somerville’s Assembly Row shopping district “up to a theoretical amount of $100 million, and could be managed intelligently by means of an exclusive sharing arrangement.”
This is exactly the kind of thing that needs to start happening in this country. We need to start changing our legislature to account for new technologies like this that can help our economy as well as make our lives easier. My hat goes off to Mayor Curtatone and Audi for making this happen. Hopefully, the research goes well and we can get federal regulations changed to allow for remote parking of automobiles.[Source: BizJournals]