LOMMEL, Belgium – Ford Motor Company is developing a new automated parking technology that could enable drivers to park with only the push of a button from inside or outside of their car.
The technology called Fully Assisted Parking Aid is currently in the prototype phase and controls steering, gear selection, and forward and reverse motion to facilitate push-button parking. Ford is demonstrating the technology to journalists for the first time this week at its proving grounds in Lommel, Belgium, and a video demonstration can be viewed here.
“Parking in today’s cities can be stressful and difficult,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “We want to make it as easy, efficient and accurate as possible – and that means exploring new concepts and approaches.”
Experts from Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering organisation are harnessing advances made in existing Ford technologies, such as Active Park Assist
and Ford Powershift
transmission, to deliver the next generation of parking technology – Fully Assisted Parking Aid.
Ford Powershift transmission is able to electronically control forward and reverse gear changes without physical driver input, while Active Park Assist can scan for appropriately-sized parking spaces and steer a car into that space.
Fully Assisted Parking Aid would detect a suitable parallel parking space using ultrasonic sensors. The driver would then activate the system by taking the car out of gear (putting it into neutral) and pushing a button either from inside the car or outside by remote control. The system would then take control of the steering, forward and reverse motion, braking and guidance to manoeuvre the vehicle into the space.
Fully Assisted Parking Aid would locate parking spaces at speeds of up to 30 km/h and require the driver to retain pressure on the button for the duration of the manoeuvre, enabling them to cancel or override the system at any time.
And because Ford’s parking systems can manoeuvre vehicles into spaces just 20 per cent longer than the overall vehicle length – Fully Assisted Parking Aid could free-up parking space lost to inefficient parking if utilised on a large number of vehicles.
Ford recently unveiled the all-new Ford S-MAX Concept featuring a number of next-generation technologies including an advanced version of Active Park Assist with perpendicular parking capability – a system that could be further utilised by Fully Assisted Parking Aid to help drivers effortlessly manoeuvre into compact parking spaces and garages.
“The key is that we already have the technologies that put us in a position where we could one day make fully automated parking a reality for Ford customers,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president Ford Research and Innovation. “Fully Assisted Parking Aid could provide additional benefit to drivers with reduced mobility, including disabled and elderly drivers, as well as customers who face difficult reverse-parking manoeuvres in busy and narrow streets every day.”