Self-Parking Technology Avoided

01 October 2015 - By Eugene Herbert

Hi Folks…

We have often commented on the benefits on improved technology in our
new vehicle models and the benefits associated therewith. We have however also
added a few “caveats” and some cautionary notes with regard to taking them for

When it comes to the initial systems design to make driverless vehicles
a reality – such as self-parking technology – while they definitely work well
in the real world, drivers are avoiding their use.

On top of that, not only are they avoiding the use of self-parking
systems, according to a new survey from AAA in the US, most say they don’t
trust such technology – even though it often performs parking tasks far better
than they can.

"Autonomous features, such as active park assist, are rapidly being
introduced into new vehicles, yet American drivers are hesitant to let go of
the wheel," noted John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of automotive
engineering and repair, in a statement. "The vast majority of Americans
say they would not trust self-parking technology.”

AAA’s poll found that nearly 80% of American drivers are confident in
their parallel parking abilities, with only one-in-four saying they would trust
self-parking technology to park their vehicle – even though AAA’s own testing
found self-parking technology outperformed unassisted drivers in four key

·         Drivers using self-parking systems experienced 81% fewer curb strikes.

·         Self-parking systems parallel parked the vehicle using 47% fewer
manoeuvres, with some systems completing the task in as little as one

·         Self-parking systems were able to park a vehicle 10% faster.

·         Self-parking systems were able to park 37% closer to the curb.

It’s worthy to note that other surveys discerned that providing safer
driving might be a tipping point where
autonomous vehicle systems are concerned.

AAA noted that it tested self-parking technology on five vehicles: a
2015 Lincoln MKC, a 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML400 4Matic, a 2015 Cadillac CTS-V
Sport, a 2015 BMW i3 and a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Limited.

While the tested self-parking systems performed well and parked quicker
and more accurately than an unassisted driver, AAA did note this technology is
not without flaws.

For example, Nielsen noted that some systems parked the vehicles
exceedingly close to the curb, leaving wheels and tires vulnerable to scratches
and costly repairs.

"AAA recommends that drivers leave six-to-eight inches between the
vehicle and the curb when parallel parking, [but] some systems leave as little
as a half-inch buffer,” he added.

Still, the upshot is the technology parks a car better than a human
driver. But the humans avoid using it – even if it’s built into the vehicle as
a standard feature.

Does this portend a slower-than-expected adoption rate for more advanced
autonomous vehicle systems? Maybe. In any event, it’s a big hint that getting
drivers to give up control of their vehicles will be a far from easy task.

Clearly  this may be a somewhat ‘jaundiced’ view of 
some  the  downsides of technology but no doubt, with time ,more and
more drivers  will be ‘driven’ to using it and sadly, possibly even making
for more lazy drivers.

Some drivers were distrusting of safety belts, but today, by and large
most drivers see the benefits of these and have adapted to using them with
positive results.

Till next time - Drive Safe and make sure you understand the technology
in your vehicle – it could save you, at worst a few rands, at best your life.

Eugene Herbert

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