Is remote park assist the next big thing?

For many years, one of the biggest tropes about learning to drive was how difficult it was to parallel park. And even with more small vehicles hitting the market, people who have been driving for years or decades may still occasionally have difficulty getting into some spots. For future generations of motorists, however, such concerns may become a thing of the past thanks to automated and remote park assist features.

Increasingly, automakers like Ford, Kia, Jeep and more are introducing these perks for vehicles as a means of making drivers' lives just a little bit easier with the help of advanced technologies, according to Chicago Now. Not only will these features, included in all types of vehicles these days, help owners park their cars in any space that's physically possible to ease into, it will also tell them which spaces can actually accommodate a vehicle of their size even before attempting to park.

And for those spaces that were a particularly tight squeeze, the feature may also be able to seamlessly navigate them back out of the spot, the report said. As an added bonus, park assist – including remote options that don't even require the someone to be in the driver's seat.

Squeezing into tight spots could soon be easier than ever.Squeezing into tight spots could soon be easier than ever.

Going remote
While the first wave of remote park assist features to be available to the public were largely reserved for luxury and all-electric vehicles, that's not going to be the case in the near future, according to Car Advice. Kia's popular Sorento SUV will also add remote park assist that allows drivers to get out and watch the vehicle's AI system park it without any help. The first generation of Kia's technology is only for front- and back-in parking – meaning no parallel help yet – but will nonetheless allow for greater flexibility among passengers, who can now get out of the vehicle comfortably without having to squeeze out of doors in tight spaces.

And because this is the first non-luxury or non-electric vehicle to provide such an option, it's also more affordable, with a price tag well below what would have previously been required to have a self- and remote-parking feature, the report said. In addition, the vehicle will also use radar, cameras and mirrors to prevent collisions with pedestrians, cyclists and other obstacles both when parking and opening doors.

Making it affordable
With most of the new offerings adding such a feature – including the 2020 Jeep Compass – being sizable SUVs, the cost for such features can still be significant, the report said. That is especially true because remote park assist is expected to be an optional addition for the foreseeable future, meaning it (and similar features) could tack thousands onto the final price. That, in turn, could be an impediment to broader adoption in the next few years.

Of course, that was also true of other now-common and typically standard safety features like backup cameras, so if the technology proves popular with drivers, it may just be a matter of time until it's an all-too-typical offering.

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