VW electric cars to have piloted valet parking, smart charging

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VW showed off a lot of technology at this year’s CES, but one of the more exciting features, was that its next-generation Golf hatchback, and several of its other future cars, will have automated parking that lets you get dropped off at your front door and then program the car to go and park itself on your drive, or in your garage.

At least it will in the future. In the first generation of the self-parking technology, drivers will still need to remain in the car should something go awry, but with software updates VW expects it can bring the self-parking feature to life. This goes hand in hand with the new infotainment system it announced, as well as other automated features like smart cruise control and automated braking.

VW is also working on introducing smart charging for its electric E-Golf. This would allow for induction charging, thereby needing no hard connection in order to send power to the vehicle’s batteries. While still somewhat of a concept at the moment, VW envisages a day in the future where the car will drive itself into your garage, place itself over or nearby to a conductive charging plate in the floor and begin charging. It may even automatically extend a portion of the car’s rear bumper – that contains a conductive charge plate of its own – to receive the power transferred more efficiently.

smartegolf

However for this to be viable, very precise automated parking will need to be figured out too. As it stands, current E-Golf’s have a semi-assisted parking feature which can help get into particularly tight spots. In the future though, VW believes it will be able to make its cars park themselves in a precise spot every time without interference from a driver.

For those that don’t always charge their electric car up at home, the new E-Golf will make it easier to find a charging station, by incorporating their locations in its built in navigation software. On top of that too, the car’s running lights will change depending on how much charge is left.

This will also go hand in hand with smartphone and smartwatch compatibility. When implemented, that will not only allow drivers to link their phone up with the car’s infotainment system – which will support both Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto systems, but will also give access to car features like locking and unlocking, opening the boot, starting the heaters and eventually, sending the car to park itself and initiate charging.

Another newly announced feature for the app which is pretty different from that offered by other car makers, is the ability to grant other people temporary access to the car. If, for example, your car were to be parked by a valet and you had opted not to bring your keys with you, you could give them access via your smartphone so that you don’t need to leave a permanent way for them to operate your car with them.

Good for the security concious and/or the paranoid.

[Thanks TransportEvolved]

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.