By Chris Van Hoven
One of the most difficult aspects of driving is, admittedly, parking the car properly. Sure, it’s easy when you’re the only car in the parking lot, but tight spaces and obstacles that are hidden from view can make parking your car quite challenging. Parallel parking, in particular, is one of the skills that a large majority of drivers have yet to master. Thankfully manufacturers acknowledge the difficulties we face when parking our cars, and their technology has come to the rescue.
Ford calls it Active Parking Assist. Nissan has their Intelligent Park Assist. Honda uses Smart Parking Assist. Mercedes-Benz calls their technology Active Park Assist. These are just a few examples of manufacturers utilizing various sensors and cameras around the car to help you get into that parking slot, whether it be parallel or perpendicular. The driver either selects the preferred parking spot shown on the main screen via numerous cameras around the car, or the car automatically detects a parking space as you stop next to it. The vehicle then automatically operates the steering, which leaves the driver free to operate the accelerator and brakes, while checking
the surroundings for obstacles. These instructions are given by audio signals and instructions displayed on the screen. By moving forward and reversing, with the system taking full control of steering, the car can easily be parked in the designated space.
Certain technologies also assist in leaving the space you’ve parked in. The car alerts the driver if the seatbelt isn’t secure, if there are any open doors, or if there are any obstacles preventing you from exiting your parking space. Volvo cars will even provide an option to help you drive out of your space. Many manufacturers
come with hill start assist, in which the car automatically applies the brakes for you if it detects you’re on an incline, while you switch from brakes to gas and accelerate uphill.
These technologies don’t just benefit the driver, but they ensure the safety of the pedestrians and cars around them as well.