With around 20% of road traffic accidents happening while parking, the advent of parking technology couldn’t come along soon enough – especially as cars have grown in size, leading to reduced visibility.
Many drivers are relatively confident on the road, but some still turn to jelly at the thought of parallel parking or reversing into a space. Fortunately, advances in technology have almost completely removed the need to stress over this everyday task, so let’s take a look what’s on offer.
By far the most common parking technology available is, unsurprisingly, the system that’s been around the longest. Parking sensors have been on the market for about 25 years, and use either electromagnetics or ultrasonics to detect other objects in close proximity. They emit a beeping sound that increases in intensity as you get closer to another car or obstacle. These are simple and effective, but the frantic beeping may induce a little anxiety in nervous drivers. Although these sensors are usually fitted by the car manufacturer, it’s also possible to buy a kit to retrofit to most cars.
It wasn’t long before manufacturers introduced reversing cameras to assist with parking – an advancement that’s particularly helpful for reversing into tight spaces. It’s well known that reversing out of a parking space increases the chances of small accidents, but nervous drivers would often rather risk that than reverse into a space. Initially using cameras can be disorientating, but with practice, the added visibility increases confidence – as long as the driver does not forget to keep the rest of their surroundings in mind! Like parking sensors, it’s possible to retrofit these to almost any vehicle.
The magic of parking assist
The first time you experience parking assist in person you may be forgiven for thinking that it’s some kind of witchcraft! Using a combination of radar, cameras and parking sensors, parking assist takes all the stress out of parking while still leaving the control of the vehicle up to the driver. Most systems leave the pedal controls to you while steering or telling you when to turn the wheel, which means that you control the speed with which you park your vehicle.
The beauty of this system is that it allows you to park in spaces that the unconfident driver would normally ignore – something that’s very handy in high-density areas!
It’s only a matter of time before we have parking technology that completely negates the need for the driver to be involved at all. In fact, several manufacturers are working on systems that allow the driver to step out of the vehicle and let it park itself! While we can’t wait to see this down at Trafalgar Street car park it’ll probably mean the early adopters will have a bit of an audience!