Print 68 comment(s) - last by Regs.. on Jan 5 at 1:54 PM

Active Park Assist  (Source: Ford)
The Lincoln MKS and MKT will be the firs Ford vehicles to get the new parking assist service

Much of the buzz surrounding the automotive industry has centered on the dire financial straits the big three have found themselves in and electric/hybrid vehicles. Going more unnoticed is the new technology that automakers like Ford are integrating into their vehicles to make them safer for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

We have all sat, watched, and waited while someone tried in vain to parallel park their vehicle. Starting in mid-2009, an option for the Lincoln MKS Sedan and MKT crossover will be a new system Ford calls Active Park Assist. The system uses a series of ultrasonic sensors arrayed at the corners of the vehicles to sense the position of the vehicle in relation to others around it.

Working in conjunction with the sensors, an Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) system activates to position the vehicle for parallel parking. The system will calculate the optimal steering angle and quickly steer the vehicle into the parking spot autonomously.

"With the touch of a button, Lincoln MKS and MKT drivers can parallel park quickly, easily and safely without ever touching the steering wheel,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development. “This is another example of exclusive Ford smart technology, such as Ford SYNC, that makes the driving experience easier and more enjoyable for our customers."

Ford says that its ultrasonic sensor based system is much more effective than similar parking assist systems that use cameras like Lexus vehicles feature. The Parking Assist system takes care of the steering control for the car, but the driver is required to shift gears and control throttle and braking.

A visual and/or audible interface keeps the driver aware of the proximity of other cars, objects, and people and will change the instructions as needed to safely park the vehicle. At any time, the driver can interrupt the parking assist system by grabbing the steering wheel.

Ford says that there is more to the EPAS system than simply offering help when parallel parking the vehicle. The EPAS system is said to improve fuel economy by up to 5% and reduce CO2 emissions at the same time. Steering performance is enhanced when compared to hydraulic systems in use on most cars today according to Ford. The automaker says it plans to fit 90% of its production vehicles with the EPAS system by 2012.

Ford's Ali Jammoul said in a statement, "As we use advanced technology like Electric Power Assisted Steering to improve the fuel efficiency across our vehicle lineup, we have the opportunity to introduce new comfort and convenience innovations like Active Parking Assist. This is technology not for the sake of technology, but technology designed to meet the needs and wants of customers."

This technology will be offering in conjunction with other Ford safety systems on some of the company's vehicles. Other systems include the Blind Spot Identification System. Ford unveiled its Collision Warning with Brake Support system in October of 2008. Ford isn’t clear on if the Collision Warning System will be offered alongside the other technologies for parking and blind spot detection.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

"Parallel parking"
By iVTec on 12/30/2008 12:35:24 PM , Rating: 2
When i saw the title,i imagined a car with wheels that could turn 90 that would be "easy,parallel parking"...:P

After all,u still need to make like a zillion maneuvers to fit your car into a tight space,even with this assistance thingy.

RE: "Parallel parking"
By ebakke on 12/30/2008 1:47:58 PM , Rating: 2
by iVTec on December 30, 2008 at 12:35 PM When i saw the title,i imagined a car with wheels that could turn 90 that would be "easy,parallel parking"...:P After all,u still need to make like a zillion maneuvers to fit your car into a tight space,even with this assistance thingy.
1. Pull up next to the car in front of the parking space.
2. Turn wheel right.
3. Back up and turn wheel left when entering the spot.
4. Straighten wheel and move forward if necessary.

Does "like a zillion" actually mean 4?

RE: "Parallel parking"
By FITCamaro on 12/30/2008 3:18:26 PM , Rating: 2
I'll admit I'm not the best at parallel parking. You don't do it much in Florida. But I can still do it generally in 5-6 motions max.

RE: "Parallel parking"
By Xerstead on 1/1/2009 8:32:26 AM , Rating: 2
Sometimes it takes even more. I've parelell parked my car with less than 10cm clearence each end. I was amazed how tight it was when I crossed the street and looked back. It took far more than the 4 motions.
How will this system cope with the really tight spaces where it is not possible to do it in one and then need to wiggle over?
The parking sensors on cars I have driven (Mercedes, Jaguar, BMW, Audi...) give their final warning tone with a foot or more of space before contact. I'm comfortable with this distance on my own and usually only need the parking sensors for the last few inches, but that just falls in the 'you're too close - Beeeep'
If this parking system only covers spaces big enough to do it in one go while leaving over a foot clearance then you should be able to do it easily yourself.

RE: "Parallel parking"
By Oregonian2 on 12/30/2008 3:32:54 PM , Rating: 2
Does "like a zillion" actually mean 4?

You left out the "for loop" around the four inner-steps in the algorithm. The four steps need to be repeated a number of times before termination of the procedure.

It'll take only the four steps if sufficient space is available. :-) My first car was a 1969 Cadillac Calais (nearly the same as a de Ville , but even larger). There almost never was sufficient room for a parallel park, and if tried, there were a zillion back and forths to fit in (and out). Later when "inheriting" my new wife's car, parallel parking a toyota corolla was a piece of cake. Depends on car size vs. space available.

RE: "Parallel parking"
By Klober on 12/30/2008 4:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
While what you say is true...I think a "while" loop might be more appropriate in this instance due to the changing number of repetitions. :P

RE: "Parallel parking"
By iVTec on 12/30/2008 3:40:44 PM , Rating: 2
Like oregonian2 said,you need 4 moves only if you have enough space,say 5 meters for a 4 meter car.But what if you have like 4,2 meters for tha same car?It's practically impossible to do it,at least without touching the other cars and spenting half an hour :P

RE: "Parallel parking"
By Klober on 12/30/2008 4:47:30 PM , Rating: 2
Nah. Just drive a smaller car and bring a couple of buddies. Only 2 steps this way:

1. Pull front end of car straight into space and turn off car.
2. Pile out, pick up back end and SCOOT!


RE: "Parallel parking"
By Smilin on 12/30/2008 5:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
1. Pull up next to the car in front of the parking space.
2. Turn wheel right.
3. Back up and turn wheel left when entering the spot.
4. Straighten wheel and move forward if necessary.

See! THIS folks is why you need a car that can automatically parallel park. This guy just smashed someone's car when parallel parking and is now telling everyone else to do the same.

Oh, BTW insert this between step 1 & 2 before turning your wheel right. It will stop you from taking off someone's bumper:

1.5 Backup until front of your car is next to the door of the car in the front of the parking space.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
Related Articles
Ford Collision Warning System Uses Radar
October 8, 2008, 12:04 PM

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
Snapchat’s New Sunglasses are a Spectacle – No Pun Intended
September 24, 2016, 9:02 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki