Autonomous parking assist systems are nothing new in the market, but they have evolved considerably in a short span of time.
Early versions of the system started off by handling only parallel parking and still required a high degree of involvement from the driver. The vehicle’s computer only applies the necessary steering angle whilst the driver is still needed to apply throttle, brake, and alternate between forward and reverse gears.
Later versions of the system have since added the capability of reverse perpendicular parking into their breadth of abilities. The Ford Focus demonstrated below is one example of a vehicle so equipped.
Recently, when reviewing the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, we the chance to experience perhaps one of the most advanced autonomous parking assist feature in the market. Besides being able to handle both parallel and perpendicular parking, the Merc’s system even takes care of braking and changing gears, so you really surrender total control of your vehicle to the system.
The system is able to judge whether a bay is parallel or perpendicular by measuring the available space. Of course, for a perpendicular bay, it is the driver’s choice whether to reverse in or enter head-first. Either way, the car is happy to take care of it for you.