Cars with automatic parking systems are fairly commonplace. Hyundais, Mercedes-Benzes, Priuses and everything in between now come with the option of systems that parallel park on the driver’s behalf.
Usually, the driver is required to remain seated, operating the accelerator and brake pedals, and changing gears as necessary, but such manual labor may be a thing of the past, if Ford has its way.
The Blue Oval has demonstrated a new self-parking system that allows its vehicles to scan for suitably large spaces before slotting themselves in autonomously. However in this case it allows the driver to step out and walk away before the manoeuvre is complete.
The system is designed for use in situations where you’ve found a space that is large enough to accommodate the car, but too small for you to get out easily once you’ve parked. We imagine it could come in incredibly handy in situations where you’re running horribly late and want to save a few valuable seconds.
Ford has also demonstrated an automatic avoidance system that combines automatic braking with automatic steering. This technology allows the car to brake automatically in the event of an impending crash and, if it’s unable to stop in time, to steer itself out of harm’s way (hopefully not into the path of another obstacle).
Both systems are in the early prototype stage, but there’s every chance they’ll see the light of day on production cars in the months and years to come.