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Ford cars become personal valets

Tue, 08 Oct 2013

It's alive! Well, sort of. Ford has developed a car that can not only seek out empty parking spots, but park itself, too—all sans driver. Ford planned to showcase this futuristic parking technology to the media Tuesday at its Belgium proving grounds.

Although Ford has not yet announced when it will include this feature in its lineup, the company said it is making serious strides to implement it in the near future. So parking-inept drivers sit tight, your days of dinged up bumpers are almost a thing of the past.

Ford's fully assisted parking aid works like this: The driver stands outside their car, pushes a button and, with the help of ultrasonic sensors, the car can detect an open parallel, diagonal or perpendicular parking space and perfectly maneuver itself into a spot.

The parking aid can also detect pedestrians and automatically turn the steering wheel to avoid a collision.

Ford already has a parallel parking assist feature in some of its vehicles, but the driver is required to be inside the car with a foot on the brake pedal.

In addition to the parking aid, Ford also planned to show off an obstacle avoidance system. Comprising ultrasonic sensors and cameras scanning the road more than 650 feet ahead, the system uses automatic steering and braking to help prevent collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians that are stopped or slowing in the path of the vehicle.

An audio alert will be the first warning for objects ahead, and if the driver does not respond the system will take over completely and automatically steer the wheel and apply the brakes if necessary.

By Natalie Sejnost