Self-parking car technology - does it work?

Stephen Corby investigates whether or not self-parking vehicles live up to the hype.

Self parking car

Once derided as a gimmick that no driver with any pride would deign to use, self-parking systems have become commonplace, and uncommonly clever.

When Holden launched its VF Commodore with autonomous parking as a standard feature on all models, you really knew that this technology had come of age.

These systems work by scanning for empty spots, measuring them with radar and then taking over the steering for you and telling you when to switch from Drive to Reverse (you still control the throttle and brakes, which is obviously the easy part).

The Commodore’s self-parking tech is incredibly impressive and does what it was obviously designed to do, by taking away the worry some people might have about parking such a large vehicle. The system is so good, in fact, that it can get you into spaces you might not have been willing to try yourself.

All the modern autonomous-parking systems are pretty clever, but the Citroen one - as fitted to its excellent family hauler the C4 Grand Picasso - is particularly brilliant, perhaps because it was designed to cope with the enormous challenge presented by parking on Parisian streets.

If you’ve got self-parking on your car but you’ve been too afraid to push the button, have a go. You might never park your own car again.


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