Last night, BMW had indicated that its new 7 Series models sold in the US that didn't have the self-parking feature would be upgradeable to it, saying in a statement that "the technology in this feature is such that we will be able to make it available for cars that do not already have it." Now, in a reversal, BMW tells The Verge that this is not the case — because the cars that have already been sold do not have necessary hardware.
The indication that already-sold 7 Series cars might get self-parking had originally come up because BMW's feature was specifically called out earlier in the day by US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, who noted that the technology was in compliance with federal safety regulations. BMW had originally avoided offering the feature on its US cars over regulatory concerns; 7 Series models sold in other markets already have it enabled.
It still seems likely that BMW will enable self-parking on future models sold in the US, but for owners of the new 7 Series, this will come as a disappointment. It also lays bare one of the larger rifts between legacy automakers and Tesla, which has aggressively offered feature and functionality upgrades both through over-the-air software updates and hardware changes. Just last week, it deployed version 7.1 of its software, which enables self-parking on Model S vehicles already on the road.