How Does Self-Parking Technology Work?

Every year, the automotive industry discovers better and safer ways of driving. Some ideas take years to get off the ground, while others are implemented quickly, and can completely transform our driving experience. One such technology that was introduced years ago and initially dismissed was the idea of self-parking. Many believed that drivers wanted to be in control of their vehicle at all times. Today, self-parking vehicles are becoming mainstream and are a selling point for many automakers.

According to, the driving force behind the idea of self-parking technology was the fact that most urban centers have limited parking space. These areas rely on drivers to use parallel parking to utilize many of the spaces. Since parallel parking can be challenging for even the most experienced drivers, it takes practice to master the skill. When you parallel park you not only have to have the available room for your vehicle, but you have to calculate the best approach to getting your vehicle there effectively. This can be difficult in a dense area.

Vehicles with self-parking technology use electromagnetic and ultrasonic sensors, which have been installed in their rear and front bumpers, to detect the distance between the car and obstacles around the car. Instead of the driver estimating distance, the computer system makes calculations to determine a suitable course of action. This technology can significantly lessen the chance of getting scratches and dents while parking.

Many self-parking systems are not completely autonomous. The driver will still have to perform certain tasks like speed control and gear changes. You will need to turn on the system when you reach your desired destination and reduce your speed so the system can look for available spaces. After stopping the car, follow the system's directions and switch off your engine to allow your car to park itself.

Some drivers are still skeptical about using self-parking technology. Based on an AAA survey in 2015, only 1 in 4 Americans were comfortable letting these features park their vehicles. The AAA study was completed on five different vehicle models in partnership with the Automotive Research Center at Automobile Club of Southern California. Their findings, however, proved that the auto-park systems outperformed human drivers in many aspects of parallel parking such as curb strikes and faster and fewer maneuvers.

According to AAA research, there are a few limitations associated with self-parking technology. It is recommended that the space between your curb and tires be between 6 and 8 inches. With self-parking technology, the small distance between the curb and your vehicle could leave your wheels and tires exposed to possible scratches and dents. Additionally, the system could fail in complex situations when it cannot detect small obstacles. Drivers must always stay alert, even when using self-parking technology to ensure the system is sound.

Self-parking technology is certainly something we will continue to see in new cars. For 2017, the Ford F-150, BMW 3-Series, Chrysler Pacifica, Jeep Cherokee, Chevrolet Malibu, and Toyota Prius among others, offer self-parking capabilities. If you're in the market for a new car with this technology or a previously owned vehicle, reach out to AAA Auto Buying for assistance. We offer a personalized car buying experience from start to finish. We will help you find the car you want at a price you can afford. Call 1-866-710-6226 to find out how easy buying a vehicle can be.