How Reliable Are Self-Parking Cars?31st October 2018
Autonomous driving is upon us, and while we’re not all sat around twiddling our thumbs while our vehicles ferry us from A to B just yet, we can get them to park for us. Some people don’t mind parking, some people hate it, so for those in the latter camp, the idea of our cars doing the fiddly work for us is a welcome one. However, before you clamour to by a vehicle with this function, there’s a question which needs answering: just how reliable is it? In this article, we’ll be doing just that.
How do self-parking cars work?
As we’ve said, self-parking cars on the market aren’t completely autonomous just yet, but they do make parallel parking that bit easier.
During the self-parking process, the driver still regulates the speed of the vehicle by pressing and releasing the brake. However, as soon as the process begins, the car’s onboard computer system will take over the control of the steering wheel. The car will then move forward into position, adjacent to the car in front of the open space, and a signal will let the driver know when they should stop. After shifting the car into reverse and releasing the brake, the car will then begin to reverse into the space, utilising the power steering system and various sensors around the car to manoeuvre properly.
After a few more signals and gear changes, the vehicle will finally indicate that the assistance is completed.
Is self-parking reliable?
In 2015, the AAA carried out a series of tests in which self-parking technology actually outperformed manual parkers in number of kerb strikes, speed and accuracy, despite the fact that they were being helped by a reversing camera.
The test found that drivers who used self-parking systems experienced 81% fewer kerb strikes and were able to complete the task 10% faster than drivers performed the task manually. On top of this, self-parking systems were able to complete the task using 47% fewer manoeuvres, with some systems being able to parallel park in as little as one manoeuvre.
Self-parking does have its faults, though. AAA found that some of the self-parking systems parked their vehicles too close to the kerb. While this didn’t fail any tests, it does mean that the risk of scratching wheels and bumpers is increased dramatically.
Ultimately, whether you think this feature is worthwhile depends on how far you trust your own ability to parallel park. If you’re not feeling too confident, a vehicle with a self-parking system is definitely worth considering.
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