Finding a parking space is stressful in itself. And when you have to squeeze into a narrow gap between cars parked tightly along the sidewalk, many experiences the same feelings as when passing the exam for “rights”. The keen interest in electronic systems that help park is understandable – they will find a place themselves and maneuver. The driver only controls the process using the pedals.
Interestingly, these systems did not appear on exclusive models. The only exception is the hybrid Lexus LS 460h. Otherwise, “parking assistants” are available on cars that are affordable for a simple layman – Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Touran, Mercedes-Benz A- and B-classes.
The Toyota Prius’s Intelligent Parking Assistance (IPA) is included in the Nävi package in Europe. In addition to the IPA, the package includes a satellite navigation system with a touchscreen display, a Bluetooth interface for connecting a mobile phone, and cruise control. For a Volkswagen Touran buyer, the Park Assist system will cost 23,312 rubles, and for a Mercedes-Benz A- or B-class, it costs 31,100 rubles.
No doubt, such systems will soon appear on the most compact urban models – in theory, their owners more often than others have to make strange movements in an attempt to fit into the free space on the sidewalk.
Technically modern city cars are ready for this. In their design, there is the main element – electric power steering. On models of a larger mass, the amplifier is usually hydraulic, and the system is not yet consistent with it. So owners of luxury sedans and SUVs should not expect Park Assist anytime soon. At least until the advent of hybrid versions, where the electronics have more rights.
In addition to the electric booster, the car must have parking sensors in both bumpers, and in a larger number than usual. The electronic unit controls the maneuvers.
If you touch the steering wheel, the system will go into manual mode, is that true? A fair question arises: “Do parking assistance systems really work as well as manufacturers say they do?” To answer it, we took the models that were first available with Park Assist as an option: the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the Toyota Prius, and the Volkswagen Touran. As a result of the test, we came to several fundamental conclusions.
First, automatic assistance systems can park the car only on the condition that the reverse gear must be engaged no more than once to do this. Automation is not able to move the car back and forth several times while working as a steering wheel. Accordingly, more parking space is required.
Secondly, it is impossible to make the system work if the electronic unit considers that the distance between the machines is not enough. Even if you, having adequately assessed the situation, consider that there is enough space, the electronics will refuse to maneuver. Most drivers will park perfectly if the “hole” is 50-60 cm longer than the car. Automatic systems are reinsured – the free clearance should be at least 130 cm longer than the car (for Mercedes-Benz), and even better – one and a half meters.