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Understanding Park Assist Technology

Almost as a pre-cursor to self-driving technology, the advent of park assist technology has largely been an unheralded success. As we continue to mull the role autonomous driving will play in the motoring world, park assistance has effectively found its place within the development of today’s vehicles. With that said, if you’re uncertain about a park-assisted vehicle for your next purchase, here’s what you should know to help you make your decision.

The push for park assist technology has stemmed from the day to day frustrations of parking. Forget the dreaded issue of parallel parking –with the metaphorical flick of a switch, you’re all good. You also need not worry about the prospect of a fender bender in a tight spot – after all, computers will control your vehicle’s movements with precision that even the best drivers wouldn’t be able to match.

The technology is not particularly new either, having been in existence for over 15 years. With what is often a simple touch-screen activated system, sensors scan the sides of the road, parking lots, garages and the like in search of spots that a motorist would be able to park their vehicle. Once a vacant parking spot has been identified, a series of sounds and on-screen images will be used to illustrate the particular situation.

At this point the vehicle’s automated system will be engaged, which relies on the power steering system to override the steering wheel and direct the car into position. If the system is used for guidance instead, the screen will display a series of projectories for the driver to use to align the vehicle into the space -designating control to the driver. In either case however, the driver will be required to adjust the throttle to move the vehicle, and will also have the support of cameras.

Because the technology was initially only fitted to high end vehicles, it never gained widespread adoption and struggled to penetrate into the market. Initial iterations of the technology were also cumbersome and clunky, hence it was no surprise to see extensive development in this area. In fact, several generations of the tech were required to iron out the gremlins and make for a more efficient system. And it wasn’t until this system became more optimised that it found its way to a wider slew of vehicles, including all price points. That is to say, no longer is the technology inefficient, nor is it still restricted to luxury cars.

In some ways, the story and development of park assistance technology looks like it could be replicated via the emergence of self driving technology. And when you consider the growing prominence of technology in our daily lives, it’s hardly a surprise we continue to opt for automated solutions and refine them over time for the mass market to embrace.

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