Car firms show off gadgets that can park at the push of a button

Marion Dakers
CARS that can drive themselves have been a frequent sight at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

The technology has even been used to ferry conference-goers around the Las Vegas venue on the Navia, an unmanned ten-seat shuttle similar to a milk float.

But the first opportunity motorists will get to try out no-hands driving is likely to come from the range of cars that showed off self-parking features at the show.

The BMW i3 electric model, which will go on sale later this year, will offer the option of one-touch parking, leaving the car to judge the kerb with ultrasonic sensors.

Bosch also showed off its smartphone-operated self-parking technology, which lets drivers park the car from outside the vehicle.

While this gadget could be available by the end of next year, the UK Highway Code could be a hurdle as it requires motorists to be in the car when the engine is running.

Fully driverless cars from BMW and Audi were also on show at CES this week. Mainstream use on the open road is several years away, for both cost and regulatory reasons, though the UK government has offered a £10m prize to one town or city willing to act as a testing ground.

Elsewhere at CES, 3D Systems unveiled a 3D printer capable of producing intricate, edible designs made from sugar.

The Chefjet device, aimed at professional bakers, will retail at less than $5,000 when it goes on sale later this year.

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