Self – Parking Cars: Stepping Stones to Cars that Drive Themselves

Nowadays, you no longer have to park your car in the garage, since there are vehicles that can do this without your help. All you have to do is step out of the car and watch it drive into the garage or look for the perfect parking spot. When you want to leave, you’ll only need to press a button on your smartphone app and watch how your car returns to the entrance all by itself.


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Audi will drive itself in 10 years

Although that’s not possible now, it will be in the near future. The German carmaker company Audi is currently running this project which has been provided with countless laser systems designed to map the environment. This project allows specially designed cars to drive into the garage while passing past other parked cars, sense where there is an empty parking spot and park themselves. Just imagine how much time you’ll to save thanks to these amazing cars.

However, you’ll have to wait another 10 years until this technology is perfected and implemented. This project proves that one day your car will be able to drive without your help. Vehicle autonomy is developing at high speed, promising to make the driving process easier and safer. In the first stage, this technology will be available only in limited spaces such as parking garages.

Our cars, our private drivers

Although it may sound unbelievable, this technology is not difficult to develop. The main challenge is to make this technology hit the market. Annie Lien, a popular senior engineer, stated that a fully autonomous car won’t appear too soon, although people seem surprised when they find out that their cars will be able to drive them from place to place in around ten years.

She also stated that the technology presented in the demonstrations of many automakers is not even ready for the showroom, and it won’t be until the hardware becomes more compact and cheaper; the reliability and security are assured and the system becomes more easy to use. Besides, there are plenty of legal issues that need to be taken care of.

Advanced autonomous technology

Toyota and Audi were present at 2013’s Consumer Electronics Show that took place in Las Vegas in order to talk about the advanced autonomous technology. Toyota presented a Lexus provided with an equipment similar to the one featured by the self-driving car designed by Google and several videos picturing the car that drove autonomously on a racetrack.

As far as Audi’s demonstration is concerned, they chose to focus on practical considerations. As a result, it presented a compact laser sensor that fits inside the body of a car and builds a 3-D picture with the surroundings.

This sensor is said to be smaller and cheaper than the device used by Google on their self-driving cars, which is built by Velodyne and costs more than $70,000. However, the sensor designed by Audi is less accurate and provides less resolution than the one used by Google.

Audi also presented their self-parking system by making some adjustments to the parking garage featured by the hotel that hosted the event. Their system makes use of laser equipment that transmits the 3-D imaging information to the car, meaning that fewer components need to be incorporated. The company also showed off some semi-autonomous systems for parking that could become available in five years. One of them performs perpendicular parking maneuver but needs the driver to sit behind the wheel, while the other allows drivers to park their cars using their tablets or smartphones.

Self-driving technology: extremely appealing to car makers

Self-driving technologies have attracted the great majority of carmakers. Jeremy Salinger, representative of General Motors has stated that the company is already developing a technology that permits vehicles to steer themselves even in highway traffic. However, he mentioned that the implementation of this strategy should not be rushed, since the interface needs to be perfect in order to release these cars. He has also shown his concern related to people’s inability to understand that this system has some limits and that the driver will still need to supervise the activity of his car.

Specialists agree that legal issues will definitely affect the development of this technology. Several states have already passed laws that allow autonomous driving for testing purposes as long as there is a driver in the car, but the liability issues haven’t been worked out yet. These legal issues will definitely become more complicated in case there will be mixed autonomy levels on the road.

Author Bio: Michael Clark is the author of this article. He is passionate about cars, gadgets and technology. He believes on site for parts, spares and accessories.

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