For many drivers, parallel parking is an ordeal, but with parking space scarce in large cities, squeezing your car into a small space is an essential skill. Luckily, technology has an answer—self-parking cars. Let us now take a deep dive into the tech inside self park cars.
What is self-parking in a car?
The automatic parking technology is an autonomous car-maneuvering system that allows a vehicle to move from a traffic lane into a parking spot to make a perpendicular, parallel or angle parking. The system enhances driving comfort and safety in restricted conditions where the steering of the car needs a lot of focus and experience.
In order to ensure collision-free travel within the available space, the parking maneuver is achieved by means of synchronized regulation of the steering angle and speed that takes into account the actual environmental situation. So instead of becoming stressed out as you struggle to maneuver your car back and forth to park you simply have to push a button, sit back and relax and let technology have its way.
Benefits of self-parking cars
Self-parking cars are no longer things of the future as carmakers are already beginning to sell self-parking vehicles because they are starting to feel a demand. Parallel parking, which can be the most dreaded aspect of the driver's test, might have to be done by everyone at some point, most especially by people who live in large cities. It is quite appealing to eliminate the complexity and tension that this chore may bring.
The challenge of parallel parking contributes to a number of small scratches and dents. A number of these mishaps can be avoided by self-parking technology. Since you won't have to worry about insurance claims for parking-related injuries, it can also save money.
In dense urban areas, self-parking cars can also help to alleviate some of the parking and traffic problems. Parking a car is often limited by the ability of the driver in parallel parking. Narrow parking or any parking situation is no doubt every new driver or in some cases any driver’s nightmare. Considering the number of vehicles is expected to double over the next few decades there has become a need for a technology that will somehow mitigate the issue of drivers taking up more space than they should when parking spaces are becoming more and more limited.
Self Parking Technology
Most cars that have self-parking technology are not completely operating autonomously. What the system does is locate a parallel and in some instances perpendicular or diagonal parking spot upon signal by the use of proximity sensors located on the front, side, and rear of the vehicle. The system will still require you to activate a turn signal to determine what side of the road it should look for a parking space. The driver still has to select it once a spot has been located and then it will come to a stop. The vehicle will instruct the driver to shift into the right gear.
The steering part is the automated part of things. They will operate the gas and brake as the car steers itself into the parking space until the driver moves into reverse. Some self-parking systems also manage acceleration and braking. If the car is at risk of collision with an obstacle, the proximity sensors will issue a warning, and if necessary, the car will ask you to switch back into drive to complete the parking maneuver.
But those are only the basic parking system technology as some cars already have technologies that come with additional functionality. Tesla boasts of the Smart Summon, which can autonomously direct your car out of a parking space and to your location, given that you are less than 200 feet away. The available remote park assist systems found in the BMW 7 Series and Hyundai Sonata also enables drivers to pull the car into or out of tight parking space all through the key fob.
With more development in self-driving vehicles, the effort placed on the driver’s part is becoming more and more minimal. The new features do not need you to touch the pedals. Self-driving cars with the use of automatic gearboxes can already maneuver forward and in reverse while the brakes are applied as needed. A remote control feature that enables you to park the car while you stand outside through the use of the key or your smartphone is already available for many luxury vehicles.
Best Self Park Cars
There are already some car models available right now that use sensors for self-parking. Ultimately, you are still in charge and responsible for the operation as an individual, but you would be shocked by how capable these vehicles are of fitting into tight spots.
Such sophisticated technology doesn't come cheap and for any of the cars on this list, it's not yet standard equipment. Installing a set of extra features is still required for the park assist. Here are some of the cars with the option of installing some of the best self parking technology:
2018 Audi A8 2020 Toyota Prius
2018 Ford Expedition 2020 BMW 7 Series
2018 Tesla Model S 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
2018 Tesla Model 3 2020 Chevrolet Malibu
2018 Mercedes Benz S Class 2020 Volkswagen Arteon
2018 Mercedes Benz GLS 2020 Lincoln Continental
2018 Ford F-150 2020 Cadillac CT5
2018 Volkswagen Golf Estate 2020 Volvo S90
2018 Ford Focus 2020 Tesla Model 3
2019 Lincoln Navigator 2020 Hyundai Sonata
2019 BMW 5 Series 2021 Toyota Prius Prime
2019 Jaguar I-Pace 2021 Volkswagen Atlas
2019 Volvo XC-40
2019 Volkswagen GTi
2019 BMW 2 Series
How Do Self-driving Cars Work
The same technology used in self-parking cars are also used for collision avoidance systems and ultimately, self-driving cars as the autonomous car also operate through the use of sensors responding to the vehicle’s environment. The goal of self-driving cars is eventually to function without human intervention. At no time shall a human passenger need to take control of the car, nor shall a human passenger need to be present in the car at all.
Everywhere in conventional cargoes, an autonomous car will also be able to go and it will drive as an experienced human driver does. Besides the sensors, actuators, complex algorithms, machine learning systems, and powerful processors are also needed to execute software.
Based on a range of sensors installed in various parts of the vehicle, autonomous cars build and maintain a map of their surroundings. The location of nearby vehicles is tracked by radar sensors, while traffic signals are identified by video cameras. The road signs are also read and other cars and pedestrians monitored through the use of video cameras. Lidar sensors (light detection and ranging) bounce light waves off the atmosphere of the car to measure distances, detect road edges, and recognize lane markings.
The sensory information gathered is then processed by sophisticated software so that the vehicle could plan a path and send guidance to the actuators of the car that will in turn control acceleration, braking, and steering. Algorithms for obstacle avoidance, hard-coded rules, predictive modeling and identification of objects help the program obey traffic rules and navigate barriers.
The challenges of Self Driving Cars
Fully autonomous self-driving cars are still undergoing various testing in several areas worldwide, but they are yet to become available to the general public and it could still be years before that could happen. The challenges could come from the environmental, technological, philosophical and even legislative areas.
Like as first example, autonomous cars work with lidar which could be expensive and there’s still the issue of finding the right balance between range and resolution. What if multiple autonomous cars were to drive in the same area, specifically on the same road, would their lidar signals interfere with each other? With the availability of multiple radio frequencies will there be enough frequency range to support the mass production of autonomous cars?
When it comes to environmental factors, how will the cameras and sensors work in autonomous cars if there’s a layer of snow on the road and lane dividers disappear? How will those cameras and sensors track lane markings covered by debris, water, oil, or ice?
There’s also the issue of traffic conditions and laws. How will it perform in bumper-to-bumper traffic? Will they be given their exclusive lane especially when there will be sharing the road with the conventional cars for the next many years.
State vs. Federal Regulation concerns still need to be addressed. Are the laws and regulations going to differ from state to state? And since the car is self-driving what happens now with accident liability. Who will be liable for accidents between the human passenger and manufacturer most especially since the latest blueprints of a fully autonomous Level 5 car show that it will not have a dashboard or a steering wheel, meaning the human passenger would not even have the ability to take control of the car in an emergency. This means a slow down on the addition of tech inside of self-park cars
Even the most advanced technologies have limitations. Could artificial intelligence mimic life-saving human instincts like ready subtle cues with non-verbal communication? Let’s face it humans make split-second life-saving judgment calls every day by making eye contact with pedestrians or reading the facial expressions and body language of other drivers.
Self-driving Car Technology Companies
While self-driving technology hasn’t been universally adopted yet, the industry continues to have high ambitions with a forecast of over 33 million driverless vehicles by 2040. Around 55 percent of small businesses are expected to adopt self-driving car technologies in their operations within the next couple of decades. A lot of work and what seems to be endless testing still needs to be done to ensure driverless technologies are one hundred percent reliable but the industry sits on a value of over $54 billion, so you can expect that these autonomous driving cars will be cruising the roads in the not too distant future. Here are the notable 16 self-driving car companies to look out for:
Cruise in San Francisco
Working on self-driving vehicle technology with rideshare technology providing riders with autonomous transportation options on demand. This is some of the new tech inside of self-park cars.
Waymo in San Francisco
Building various autonomous vehicles crafted to meet the mobility needs of drivers with both commuter vehicles and self-driving trucks for personal and commercial use.
Voyage in San Francisco
Focusing on building networks of self-driving cars for retirement communities to help senior citizens access better and safer transit.
Swift Navigation in San Francisco
Designs and builds precise and accurate GPS positioning products for use in autonomous vehicles and for the benefit of agriculture, robotics, and other industries.
Embark Trucks in San Francisco
Focuses on the logistics industry to dispatch driverless shipping vehicles without needing to worry about their safety on the road.
CARMERA in San Francisco
Working on powerful HD mapping technology for self-driving vehicles to predict their surroundings and give a needed response to external factors in real-time.
Zoox in San Francisco
Aims to create a fleet of independently operating vehicles that can serve in urban areas as an on-demand transportation option.
Nauto in San Francisco
Provide other companies in the same industry with the technologies to enhance and optimize their own vehicles with driver behavior tracking alerts, predictive collision alerting systems and built-in incident reporting.
ABB in Colorado
Produces products for things other than self-driving cars. They add tech inside of cars including PLC automation, analytics measurement platforms, low voltage products, power electronics, industrial automation, robotics, and electrification on their agenda and have offices overseas.
HAAS ALERT in Chicago
Focuses on Emergency vehicles benefitting first responders so they can get to the incident location on time without compromising safety.
Deepscale in San Francisco
Makes use of deep neural network technologies with their self-driving technology to aid autonomous vehicles to perform better on the road.
Reality AI in New York
Working on cloud-based environmental detection tech flexibly integrated into pre-existing systems and platforms. They have been recognized and awarded by tech institutions like Design News and Project Kairos.
SEEVA in Seattle team anticipates that, while lidar and 3D sensing technology might be optimized to respond effectively to environmental changes, it will take a while to add them to the list of tech inside of self-park cars.
Automotive of Seattle
This company came up with the most effective lidar system possible to add to the long list of tech inside of self-park so they can accurately predict and react to incidents on the road without external input.
CloudMade in San Francisco
Uses automobile personalization technology and smart AI technologies to build vehicle systems that are designed to meet each driver's needs and make their driving experience easier.
Let’s face it, only after the present challenges of fully autonomous self-driving cars are addressed will the world fully reap the benefits of the technology. It’s going to take a while. But for now, the world is already enjoying some partially autonomous self-driving cars, such as self-park cars. There’s no going back as the world advances with the latest car technologies. We will keep adding tech inside of self-park cars for years to come.