Meet the BMW that parks itself

The days of driving around the block looking for a parking space may be a thing of the past. Soon, you'll be able to let you car drive off and find its own spot.

Parking spaces look set to become the next battle ground for luxury car makers looking to cash on the appeal of autonomous driving technology.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz have both shown self-parking features on upcoming cars in the next 7-Series and E-Class that allow drivers to step out of a car and allow it to park itself.

Control or chaos?

But that technology might be held back by a lack of legislative framework in Australia surrounding the control of a motor vehicle. Self driving cars aren't currently legal in Australia, and manufacturers are working with authorities to allow autonomous technology on the road.

BMW may have to temporarily disable key features in the new 7-Series flagship when it arrives this year.

Lenore Fletcher, a spokeswoman for the company, recently returned from a technical demonstration for the 7-Series and said the car's technology was "quite astonishing".

"We were really happy to witness the remote parking at work, and it's a really good thing to see," she says.

"It's a great piece of technology and it will mean a lot to the customer, I understand that we definitely do want to provide that here in Australia.

"It may not be with the initial launch of the vehicle which is in Q4 this year, but it's certainly something that we're working hard to bring to the Australian public."

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Fletcher says BMW aimed "to be first in Australia with that technology", and that the full suite of features could be unlocked early in 2016.

Rivals working together

The car company is working with its rivals to help authorities understand the capabilities of emerging technology.

"This is one that we are actually working through at the moment, internally and also directly with our contacts in government," Fletcher says.

"We certainly speak regularly with the FCAI and our counterparts on a number of matters."

This article first appeared on drive.com.au