What’s So Cool About Automatic Parking?

Parallel parking is a science that combines both geometry and physics, and many drivers today don’t possess the extensive practice required to correctly pull off the perfect parking job, not to mention doing so on the first try. That’s because driver education programs are often omitting the parallel parking portion as it’s the most commonly failed section of the exam — slightly counterintuitive, don’t you think?


Parallel parking can throw drivers into a tizzy, causing frazzled nerves, backing up traffic, rushing through the process can lead to accidents resulting in dents, dings and “love taps.”  Even those who have mastered the science of parallel parking fall victim to drivers who haven’t, often returning to their vehicles and noticing cosmetic damage from individuals trying to park in front of or behind them.


Thankfully, automatic parking — sometimes called “active park assist” or “auto park” — has made these issues a thing of the past. Cars that feature automatic parking essentially allow the car to park itself in parallel or perpendicular spaces, even those that seem impossible, with a small push of a button. While backup cameras and blind-spot sensors have worked to aid drivers in parallel parking, automatic parking systems mitigate against any driver error that could lead to a collision with another parked car.


Automatic parking works through a combination of cameras and proximity sensors located on the front and rear bumpers of a vehicle which to determine the distance and size of cars and objects nearby. Once determined, the parking system’s internal computer calculates the best steps for parking and translates those calculations into controlled shifts of the transmission between drive and reverse, modulation of brake pressure for controlled vehicle speed and stopping and precise movements of the steering wheel. The car then provides instructions for the driver to manually parallel park in the spot by steering the wheel and alerting them of when to touch the steering wheel, when to brake or shifts needed by the driver.


Although automatic parking is not yet that much hyped fully-autonomous parking, the latter is ultimately the goal for many auto manufacturers. Although it may seem that we are inching closer to era of autonomous vehicles, a great deal of progress and innovative thinking is moving us forward day by day.


In short, whether you need the assistance, or would appreciate the fact that inexperienced drivers have access to this technology, automatic parking is just a glimpse into the bright future of autonomous vehicle technologies that work to eliminate driver error and auto accidents.

Alyson Yarberry