Parking Assist and/or Self Parking is a feature on numerous vehicles that aid drivers in parking a vehicle into an area that
may be difficult for some persons.
The terms parking assist and self parking are generally used interchangeably but they can be separate as there are parking
assist systems that does not offer any type of self parking.
Parking assist systems generally use ultrasonic sensors at the back, front and even the sides of the vehicle to locate obstacles
around your vehicle and can determine where your vehicle is in relation to these obstacles.
A display is shown on the infotainment screen or instrument panel as you reverse showing the
obstacles or the proximity so you can adjust your approach to avoid them.
Some of these self parking systems can search for a suitable parking spot and determine if the spot is large enough for your vehicle
to park before it attempts to park itself into the spot.
Some systems take it a step further by calculating the path your vehicle need to use to reverse into the space via information from
This path is also displayed on a screen along with the current path the vehicle is heading via the steering angle so you can now
adjust the steering to line up with the suggested path.
The advanced or real self parking systems also calculate an intended path but the system takes control of the steering and steers
the vehicle into the space. You still have control of the accelerator, brakes and the gear shifter.
The minimum space should be a length and a quarter of the vehicle for the parking system to determine a space to be large enough
and some vehicles minimum length is longer.
A vehicle usually has to be set to search for a parking space. It can be set when the vehicle is being driven below a predetermined
speed or whenever the parking feature is selected.
Parallel parking may require more than just reversing into a spot, an additional forward movement is usually required and most self
parking vehicles usually alert you after the initial reverse, you change the gear and the vehicle attempts to straighten itself as it moves
Toyota was one of the early companies to put self parking technology in a car and the 2007 Lexus LS was the first vehicle to offer
self parking in North America.
The parking assistance systems are generally offered as an option on the vehicles they are sold with and can now be seen on mainstream
vehicles like the Ford Focus.
Parking assist and/or self parking are remarkable systems especially for persons who have problems with parallel and back in parking
but an experienced driver will park a vehicle just as well or even better in some cases.