By Kevin Gordon
Ford announced that it will be releasing an exclusive new technology called Active Park Assist. According to Ford’s press release, this ability is in response to the ‘often stressful and frustrating task of parallel parking.’ Before we go through the details, I have to wonder. Will it be more stressful for the average Lincoln owner to parallel park, or letting their car take control of the steering when hunting for a parking space on the street? One way or another, it is good to see a U.S. auto manufacturer developing leading automation technology. Active Park Assist will be available in mid-2009 as an available option on the 2010 Lincoln MKS sedan and the new Lincoln MKT crossover.
Ford’s Active Park Assist differs from Lexus’s technology by using ultrasonic-based sensing instead of camera based technology. It also takes advantage of Ford’s new Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) to control the vehicle’s steering. The Ford system relies on the driver to control all throttle modulation and gear selection. In summary, here is the process a driver goes through to use Active Park Assist:
- The driver turns the system on with a button. This activates the ultrasonic-sensors to look for a possible parking space.
- The driver is prompted and must accept assistance.
- The system then takes control of steering, but relies on the driver for gas, brake, and shifting.
- While in this process, audible and visual cues provide the driver information on distance to other cars and provides instructions.
- At any point, the driver can take control of the system by grabbing the steering wheel.