VIDEO: Stress-Free Parallel Parking

by Lithium Technologies on ‎10-30-2015 10:14 AM - last edited on ‎11-13-2015 09:54 AM by Moderator (2,614 Views)

In recent tests by AAA, park assist systems completed maneuvers faster and bet­ter than drivers parking on their own.


Parallel parking can be one of driving’s hardest challenges for those who do not perform this maneuver regularly. Besides the difficulty of the task itself, many parallel parking spaces are on city streets with heavy traffic and impatient drivers that intensify an already stressful situation. For those who would rather park in a traditional parking space than to deal with the stress of parallel parking—even if it costs more and they have to walk further to their destination—there is a solution: park assist systems.


More and more of today’s new vehicles can be equipped with automated park assist systems that parallel park the vehicle with little effort by the driver—and almost zero stress.


How does it work?

Self-parking technology utilizes a range of sensors, vehicle systems and audible/visual alerts to enable a vehicle to detect an open parking space, interpret the sensor data, and calculate the necessary steering wheel angle and trajectory to safely park the vehicle. In most cases, the driver controls the accelerator and brake pedals while park assist controls the steering wheel.


Park assist vs. drivers
AAA recently tested self-parking features on five vehicles, and those tests revealed that park assist systems outperformed drivers who parked manually with the aid of a standard back-up camera in four key areas:

  1. Curb strikes—81 percent fewer
  2. Total number of maneuvers—47 percent fewer, with some systems needing just one maneuver
  3. Speed—10 percent faster
  4. Distance to curb—37 percent closer

The technology isn’t perfect.

While the tested self-parking systems performed well and parked quicker and more accurately than unassisted drivers, the technology has room for improvement. AAA found that some systems parked the vehicles exceedingly close to the curb—as little as half an inch away—leaving wheels and tires vulnerable to scratches and costly repairs. AAA recommends that drivers leave six-to-eight inches between the vehicle and the curb when parallel parking and is urging automakers to increase this distance to prevent vehicle damage.


Who benefits most from this technology?

  • Drivers with parallel parking anxiety.
  • People living in urban areas where parallel parking is prevalent.
  • Older drivers, as studies have shown they might have difficulty parking and often rate parking, particularly parallel parking, as stressful.

Are drivers embracing park assist systems?

AAA has found that Americans are reluctant to give up control when new technology is introduced into vehicles. A recent AAA survey found nearly three-quarters of Americans would not trust self-parking vehicle technology to parallel park their vehicle. This may be due to the fact that Americans rate their parking ability very highly, with nearly 80 percent feeling confident in their parallel parking skills.


The Bottom Line

Park assist systems are typically offered as part of an optional technology package, but some manufacturers are now including it as a standard feature on select models. If you’re in the market for a new car and have difficulty parallel parking, vehicles that feature this technology are worth your consideration.


Learn more about new technology and vehicle maintenance tips in AAA Community’s Car Care forum. If you are thinking about purchasing a new car, check out AAA Auto Buying, which could save you both time and money.


Image credit/source: AAA 

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