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Parking Assistance: All You Need To Know

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Perhaps the trickiest part about driving is parking. With increasing number of vehicles, it is also getting difficult to find parking places when you take your car out for a spin. Sometimes, we do finally find a parking place but parking the car out there might be a tough call. But thankfully, the advancement in technology has allowed car-makers to offer parking assistance to drivers.

What Is Park Assist?

Cars are striving for excellence in terms of safety and appearance and that often results in a bigger and stronger body on the car with smaller windows and windshields. Smaller windows and windshield evidently means lower visibility through them. These factors make it more difficult for the driver to park his/her car.

This is where parking assistance comes into the picture. As the name suggests, parking assistance provides assistance to the drivers to park their vehicles easily. Here you will read about some of the most common systems that turn parking into a child’s play.

Different Types Of Park Assist:

  • Parking sensors: Parking sensor is one of the most common parking assistance device in the market today. The bumpers of the car are equipped with ultrasonic sensors that can detect objects in their proximity. Generally, the front sensors are capable of detecting objects upto a distance of four feet, while the rear bumpers are capable of detecting objects upto a distance of eight feet. Some parking sensors are also accompanied by a digital graphic which allows you to manoeuvre the car more accurately. The digital graphic shows the parts of the car which is closest to an obstruction.

    All you need to do:

    Using the parking sensors is as easy as A-B-C. Here’s all you need to do:

    A. Shift to the reverse gear and activate the sensors

    B. Listen to the beep that the sensor makes. The beeping sound is high-toned for objects that are detected near the front bumper. Obstructions detected near the rear bumper is indicated by low-tone beeps. The intensity of beeping increases as the car gets closer to an obstruction.

    C. Make a visual confirmation that the car is clear and park it.

    Useful tips:

    • Keep an eye: The parking sensors will not be able to detect obstructions which are below their range. Thus, it is recommended to not rely on the sensors fully and stay aware of the surroundings while parking.
    • Keep the sensors clean: It is important to keep the sensors clean. A dirty sensor is likely to malfunction and hence the sensors are to be kept clear of dirt.
    • Stay aware: An object or any living being might enter the path all of a sudden and thus it is important to stay aware all the time.
  • Backup camera or rearview camera: A reversing camera or rearview camera is a wide angle camera which is installed in the back of your car, usually on the rear bumper or tailgate. This camera gives you a clear view of what is going on behind your car. Thus, you can park your car with ease without the hassle of turning your head. The camera relays the view to the driver on a display screen on the rearview mirror or the dashboard. Some rearview camera systems are also clubbed with sensors that provide further assistance by blinking warning lights or beeping warning sounds when they detect obstructions.

    All you need to do:

    The camera is automatically turned on as soon as the car is shifted to the reverse gear. As the camera turns on, you will get a clear rearview on your screen and can manoeuvre your car accordingly. Some systems also show pathway lines which provide further visual assistance and help to estimate the space. The lines also adjust themselves depending on the movement of the steering and the wheels.

    Useful tips:

    • Keep the camera lens free from dust and dirt to have a clear view.
    • Keep the sensors clean.
    • Although the lens of the camera is wide it might have a limited view area based on the angle at which the camera is placed. So, keeping an eye on the rearview mirror is still important. Moreover, the camera does not provide a side view and thus you should keep a watch on your sides as well.
  • 360 - Degree Camera: The 360-degree camera gives a bird’s eye view to the driver. This system makes parking very easy and convenient. In this system, the vehicle is setup with four wide angle cameras all around the vehicle: one each at the front, rear, and either sides. The video input from all the four cameras is forwarded to an image processing unit which converts the video feeds into a composite bird’s eye view image. The image generated shows the vehicle from the top and thus make it easier for the driver to manoeuvre the car into tight spots.

    All you need to do:

    Just following the on-screen image will not help in this case as it does not eliminate blind spots completely. There are chances that the system might not detect and warn the driver about certain obstructions (moving or stationary).

    Useful tips:

    • It is to be kept in mind that this system is not a substitute for other backing procedures.
    • Since, it might not be able to detect movements or obstruction in blind corners, it is necessary to check your surroundings before you start driving backwards.
  • Parking assist: This is one of the most intelligent parking systems presently. It is almost fully automatic and is a combination of all the above mentioned technologies. The parking assist system monitors the feedbacks that it receives from the camera and sensors and can judge the size of parking space based on that. It informs the driver about the suitability of the parking space and on the driver’s approval, it takes over the charge of parking the car. The driver just has to control the speed while the car steers itself into the space. These systems are capable of both parallel and bay parking.

    All you need to do:

    All you need to do is just control the speed of the car! The rest of it will be taken care of by the car itself.

    Useful tips:

    • Just like any other parking system it is important to keep the sensors and cameras clean on this one as well.

Yes! Parking is still one of the trickiest jobs and mastering the art of parking is indeed an achievement! And now it has become much more easier with the advent of these park assist systems. These systems can help a driver to squeeze his car into the toughest and narrowest spots without causing any damage. Many of them can be installed in cars as an aftermarket product as well.

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