The everyday life in big cities is not the most pleasant – the constant search for a parking space in crowded streets can drive you crazy, not to mention the risk of scratching your car body or suffering other mechanical damage. Automatic parking systems come to the rescue.
Automotive companies have long understood that making basic tasks easier will be a key aspect of the automotive future. The first systems offering assistance in parking a car were developed early, in the late 1980s and early 1990s
The explosive growth of autonomous parking technology has been fueled by constant development and technological evolution. In-car parking systems were packed with a host of sensors and systems – audible sensors to indicate an obstacle, rearview cameras, or advanced systems that use three-dimensional imagery to plot a predicted path. However, these systems fell short of their goal – autonomous parking.
With the launch of the Toyota Prius, the automotive industry saw the light in the futuristic tunnel. The Prius was equipped with a proprietary Intelligent Parking Assistant system. The groundbreaking invention allowed the car to park itself by taking control of the steering wheel. The Toyota Prius made a full-fledged automatic parking system only a matter of time.
The opinion of experts has become prophetic – today, in 2020, the standard parking system in the most modern cars can detect a parking space with a suitable surface, and automatically park the car – both perpendicular and parallel. Of course, the driver is required to control the appropriate pedals and also observe the surroundings, but it must be admitted that the parking system does most of the work
Manufacturers are also working on related parking systems. For example – in the latest BMW 7, the manufacturer has provided the possibility to park the car in the garage without being inside the vehicle. However, there are two conditions that must be met – the car must be facing straight ahead, at a distance of no more than a few meters. A pioneer in automotive autonomy, Tesla Motors Inc. equips its vehicles to enter and exit a garage without driver assistance. The latest Teslas only need compatible parking sensors and actuators to control the steering wheel. While this is an unnecessary addition, it is certainly impressive
Also on the horizon are discussions and prototypes of solutions that completely relieve the driver of the tedious wheelspin while parking. With the eco-evolution of the automotive world, manufacturers are competing with each other by designing more and more perfect autonomous systems that in the near future would completely relieve drivers of the need to control the vehicle. Undoubtedly, we already have the technology that would make this process possible, but the problem remains regulations and liability for potential damage, or worse, accidents involving pedestrians or other road users
Just think of the recent situation when an autonomous cab hit a pedestrian in the United States. It is certain that with the technological development of the automotive industry, we will encounter such situations more and more often. The consequence of this accident was a nationwide discussion on the safety of autonomous cars and the need to define appropriate regulations. So who should be held accountable for manslaughter? The engineers, the manufacturer, or the designer?