Monday, 28 July 2014
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Ford unveils push-button parking technology

Ford has unveiled prototype technologies designed to take eliminate parking headaches and increase safety.

Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering division utilised developments made with Active Park Assist and Ford PowerShift transmission to produce a Ford Focus equipped with the prototype Fully Assisted Parking Aid system.

Source: Ford Motor Company

Ford’s automated parking technology could enable drivers to park with a push of a button from inside or outside of their car

The push-button parking technology, which can be operated from outside the car via remote control, operates steering, gear selection and forward and reverse motion.

The Focus has also been equipped with Obstacle Avoidance technology, which issues warnings if it detects slow-moving objects, stationary obstacles or pedestrians in the lane ahead. If the driver fails to steer or brake following the warnings, the system automatically steers and brakes to avoid a collision.

Source: Ford Motor Company

Ford has revealed a test car equipped with technology that uses automatic steering and braking to avoid collisions with vehicles that are stopped or slowing, or to avoid hitting a pedestrian


Readers' comments (15)

  • Very cool technology but unfortunately misapplied. If one does not have the requisite skills to park a vehicle, one should not be driving a vehicle in the first place.

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  • Wonder how it would go on down our local sidestreets, parked between a Chelsea Tractor at one end, a vintage Austin 7 at the other end, and a nobbly millstone grit wall at the side!

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  • Having driven a VW Golf with similar brake assist technology, I can report that it causes more problems than it cures. Just try overtaking a slow cyclist and the car will brake suddenly,scaring the cyclist, car driver and any car behind which may also have to brake suddenly. I prefer to pay attention to the road my self and drive responsibly; something automatic systems cannot currently do. As for parking, there are a great many obstacles in real world car parks to contend with, not least of all pedestrians and concrete posts. How would an insurance company react to claims made due to accidents caused by the automatic driving systems cars? Could the driver successfully sue the car manufacturer?

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  • Nothing to stop anybody parking the car themselves if they think the task is too difficult for the automated system.

    Probably most parking takes place in Tesco's etc. and when you see the hash a lot of people make of parking there, they NEED this system. Besides, if it means I don't have to pour myself out the drivers door because spaces are too small to open door's, I'm all for it......assuming it works every time.

    Not sure I understand why brake assist would activate itself whilst your passing a cyclist, unless that is, you're travelling too close to the car in front. In which case, I would stick with the brake assist, it's trying to tell you something!

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  • The Obstacle Avoidance is more interesting than the Automated Parking though.

    Being that no one is taught swerving to avoid a collision in either basic nor advanced driving instruction, it offers possibilities but with reservations.

    Can the automeated steering be affected by a 'frozen' driver gripping the wheel rigidly, and if not, could that itself lead to injury, albeit minor consideringh the alternatives.

    Presumably the system has the ability to judge whether its better to hit the back of a stationary vehicle at 30mph rather than swerve to avoid it and be met with an oncoming Scania doing 50mph. If not, avoid like the plague!

    There is a long way to go with these systems but it won't be long before they are practical. They have the ability to speed up traffic on motorways where cars can follow in convoy at high speed, again assuming all cars are equipped with the systems and there is the ability to automate lane changing to speed up/slow down.

    Eradicating crashes from motorways would have far reaching positive consequences, the demand for new roads would be reduced as more cars could use motorways in greater safety with fewer delays. Obviously safety is increased as well as travel times being reduced. The idiots who think its fine to weave across all 3 lanes over/undertaking just because they think they are more important than anyone else would also be eradicated as would lorry drivers who 'save the environment' by only using one blink of an indicator before launching their rig into the middle lane to crawl past another lorry, regardless of whose passing them.

    The dangers of drivers who fall asleep at the wheel would also be a thing of the past. The system could detect him/her nodding off and if it cant rouse the driver it could get the vehicle stopped on the hard shoulder automatically. Similarly with drivers who suffer a medical condition where they can't be roused.

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  • Mondeos are more difficult to park and most people should be able to park a Focus. Problem is, if the space is tight, its impossible to open the doors for the car occupants and for the occupants of the two neighbouring cars. Excellent technology though.

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  • Very interesting Technology, however just suppose that the parking spot is too small for you exit the car in situ..what do you think will happen to your door as the other " non Parking assisted driver" tries to get into his car/van ?
    Certainly will be a booming market for the dent repair people.

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  • Great so the car can automatically park itself in a space to tight for the occupants to get out...how do you get back in then? As other commenters, a great technology development, but for people who shouldn’t really be behind the wheel of a motorised vehicle.

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  • The bottom line seems to be about de-skilling every aspect of owning/operating a car. All these so-called driver aids just result in complacency and someone who is poorly equipped to deal with the situation when something goes wrong. I can't see any manner in which this collision avoidance system could feasibly be called fail-safe.

    It would be interesting filling out the insurance claim form:

    Q. Where were you at the time the incident occurred?
    A. Outside watching it park/smash itself into the wall!

    And while we're about it - I presume the car can be started / shut off using the remote too? I'd be a bit wary of putting my keys in my pocket.

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  • It is interesting technology and its already well proven that it doesn't work, and has numerous pitfalls.

    Two years ago I drove a BMW 7 series as a company car for a while, and yes it was a nice car filled with technology. It had cruise/distance control fitted which was lovely as it reacted to the car in front and sped up/slowed down to maintain a safe gap. This countered the yo yo effect by maintaining a safe braking gap.

    All went well for a while and it was a good system, right up until the time we reached a traffic island. The car we were following entered the island without stopping as he had excellent visibility on the approach and the island was clear. The BMW tried to follow him, unfortunately other cars were coming round the island and I didn't have room. What happened next was an evasive braking manoeuvre to stop at the island by me.

    It was switched off at that point and never switched on again while I used that vehicle. I preferred not to rely on technology and relied upon my own proven driving skills of over 2 million miles accident free.

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