SURVEY: Drivers Don’t Trust Self-Parking Features Despite Benefits

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A recent AAA survey suggests that self-parking cars can parallel park a car more efficiently than a human can. Yet, despite the benefits, only one in four drivers trusts the technology.

One good gauge of the public’s reaction to fully automated driving is their adoption and acceptance of self-parking technology. Self-parking aids help drivers to parallel park.  The driver need only put the vehicle beside the front vehicle ahead of the spot they wish to occupy.  The vehicle will then quickly and efficiently back the car into the spot.  The problem, if you can call it that, is that not many people seem to care.

Park assist toyota

In a recent AAA survey only about one in four drivers had an interest in self-parking technology.  Four out of five are confident in their own parking abilities.  The upshot is a near consensus that self-parking is an unneeded feature.  But is it?  According to a test conducted by AAA, the self-parking systems are superior in their execution of the maneuver.

To take some of the vehicle variability out of the scenario, AAA used five vehicles representing a wide range of vehicle types.   AAA used a 2015 Lincoln MKC, a 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML400 4Matic, a 2015 Cadillac CTS-V Sport, a 2015 BMW i3 and a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Limited.  The self-parking vehicles had 81% fewer curb strikes, parked the car using fewer maneuvers (in many cases only a single smooth maneuver) and parked closer to the curb by 37%.  The self-parking vehicles were also 10% faster than the human-guided vehicles.

There was one issue AAA discovered.  The self-parking vehicles park too close to the curb for real-life ease of exiting.  In some cases the self-parked vehicles ended up leaving only a half-inch between the wheel and the curb.  Any driver who has lived in the city knows that in some cases the space to the curb is helpful when exiting a spot where new cars have parked in front and behind, and exiting space is tight.  AAA is recommending to automakers that the space be increased.  Most human parkers leave about eight inches of space between the wheel and curb.

As Nicole Wakelin pointed out in her recent story “Why Aren’t People Using the Tech In their Cars”, even easy to use technology like head-up displays and App integration is going unused by about a third of owners who have it.  The disconnect between what automakers and tech enthusiasts think cars should have and what real-life owners want and will use is significant.

The question is, do you want a self-parking car?

Image Courtesy of Range Rover

John Goreham

John Goreham