You may think you’ve seen it all before with the Ford Focus, think again. The car is parked via a smartphone. The user clicks a button, which then parks the car in a parking spot. It seems as impossible if James Bond gadgets are coming to life.
There are a number of different sensors on the car, aiding the car into the correct position and spot. Special lasers had to be setup within the car park for the procedure to work. The development is still at its first stages. Those lasers will eventually be integrated into the car it is believed. Google’s self-driving vehicle may influence proceedings here.
A car parking management system is also required. This finds and allocates a parking space and sends the route to Audi’s system.
One major stumbling block for self-driving cars is The 19 Convention on Road Traffic which states “Every driver shall at all times be able to control his vehicle or to guide his animals”. The UK signed it but the United States didn’t. Certain states can legally have cars that drive autonomously.
Another complication is that of insurance. If the car was to crash, whose responsibility is it? The manufacturers or the ‘driver’ himself?
There may not even be a market for self-driving cars too. You buy an expensive premium car to get the full driving experience. Why would you want to sit, relax and not even control the vehicle? Audi understand this problem and have said that their technology will only work if the driver wants it to. For that reason the company have developed software which only applies to traffic jams and parking. They see this strategy as a way of building up the profile slowly.
Such technology, for traffic and parking is likely to have a heavy presence over the next decade. Congestion is major problem in countries such as China and Japan. Although the technology is ready, most drivers replace their vehicle every decade on average. That leaves a long time before we see a major presence on the road.