In the past, when a driver had to find a parking spot, he or she would have to spend time circling the lot looking for available space. Nowadays, drivers can simply step out of their car and watch it park itself. This is made possible by sensors in the car that automatically scan for an open spot and then steer the vehicle into it. It's an amazing technology that engineers continue to develop and expand.
Many people are not aware of how this technology works and are surprised to learn that cars have been self-parking for years now. This article will discuss some of these features as well as how they work and why they are so helpful to drivers.
What are self-parking cars?
Self-parking cars, also known as park-assist, are becoming more and more popular as technology is advancing. As the name suggests, these cars can park themselves without the need for any human assistance. They are able to find a space and park in it by using various sensors and cameras.
A series of sensors, including radars, lasers and cameras, are used to identify obstacles in the driver's path and calculate the exact location of the vehicle. The system then identifies the shortest distance between the car and the obstacle and moves the vehicle into position, allowing for a space to open up for the driver to pull into. No special skills are required on behalf of the driver when using park-assist systems, as they work automatically once they are activated.
These self-driving cars have a lot of potential to reduce car accidents and traffic jams because they can park themselves without any human intervention. However, these cars will not be able to function in places where there aren't enough parking spaces or where there is no room for these vehicles to move around freely.
A little history
In 2006, Lexus became the first vehicle manufacturer that promised a car that could virtually park itself. A sonar sensor on the front bumper used highly intelligent technology to measure the distance available within the space allotted, such as how far the bumper is from the curb. When parking in reverse, another sensor, including a camera, on the back bumper took over instead.
An automatic steering system moves the car where it needs to be while the driver simply watches. As time went on, more manufacturers offered the same technology or even better options for self-parking vehicles. This included the 2016 Lincoln MKZ which could parallel park on its own with zero human intervention in less than 30 seconds.
Where will the future of self-parking go?
As self-driving vehicles become more mainstream on our nation's roadways, the technology used to make the vehicles drive so successfully can be transformed into even smarter self-parking abilities. Is it actually possible to do more than simply park a car once a spot has been found?
The Ford Edge Concept utility vehicle enables the customer to wait until the vehicle has pulled out of a tight parking spot before climbing in. Ford is experimenting with a Fully Assisted Parking Aid technology that allows customers to park their vehicles remotely. Other manufacturers are using smartphones and smart watches to enhance the parking process. The BMW i3 concept car uses a Remote Valet Parking Assistant to locate a parking place on its own through a vocal prompt to a smart watch app. It helps cars locate available parking spots even in multiple-level garages using mapping technology and lasers.
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