2014 International CES: This Car Can Park Itself while You Shop

Jan 08, 2014 10:04 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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The annual International CES is known for featuring the latest toys and gadgets, so it's no surprise that this year's event showcased autonomous vehicles, which have been touted as the next generation of cars.

But even at a conference with more than 3,200 exhibitors, a company named Valeo had a product that stood out: a self-driving car that parks itself, TIME reported.

Writer Doug Aamoth noted that this is not simply a car with parallel-parking assist, a feature already available in some vehicles.

"I'm talking about you pulling up in front of Costco, getting out of your car and walking into Costco like a boss while a whole gaggle of oversized-cart-pushing mouth-breathers watch your car go find itself a parking spot," Aamoth wrote in TIME's Tech section.

Consumers can not only tell the car to park itself, but they can also command the vehicle to come pick them up. Using a smartphone app, they can tell the car to come to the front of the store.

The vehicle, which is embedded with sensors, cameras and a laser scanner, drives itself very slowly in a regular parking lot, Valeo engineer Sam Azuz told TIME.

While cars would have to drive themselves slowly in ordinary parking lots, if stores decide to outfit their parking lots with a special infrastructure, self-parking vehicles could get a lot faster.

In the future, Target and Costco locations as well as any other stores could implement the needed connections and sensors to help out self-parking cars.

So how soon in the future could your car be parking itself?

According to TIME's report, the technology could be available on the market in just a few years. Valeo has already teamed up with 18 carmakers who are able to implement the sensor system into new vehicles. The self-parking feature would likely be available as an upgrade from the dealership.

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