We've all been there. Shopping, dining, out with friends and you're not entirely sure when the parking meter is set to expire. You check our watch, calculate how long it's going to take to settle our bill, say your goodbyes and get back to the car before the three-wheeled parking gestapo slaps a ticket on our windshield. BMW has the solution, and even better, it's free.

The ParkingAssistant app for the iPhone and other iOS devices is an elegant solution to a simple problem. Press a button after you've scoured your car for coinage and fed the meter and the app keeps track of how much time you have, and includes an estimate on the walk back. Combine that with a route display, and the ParkingAssistant will guide your right back to your car, even if it's sitting in a multi-story car-park. It's like your personal meter concierge and it's available to download at the iTunes store, without having to pony up the cash for a Bimmer.

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