Parallel parking is one of the more difficult driving maneuvers that drivers have to do on a regular basis. Many people struggle with parallel parking and dread the thought of trying to fit into a tight space. Luckily, there is an alternative. Cars that parallel park themselves are hitting the market, eliminating some drivers’ worries altogether. But how do these self-parking cars work?

Approaching the Spot

The driver has some input in the self-parking process, beginning with approaching the parking spot. The driver must pull up next to the car that is parked in front of the spot they wish to park in. Then, the parking assist alerts the driver when to stop and the driver puts the car in reverse. From here, the car takes over the difficult part of parallel parking.

Backing into the Spot

The only thing the driver controls from here is the speed of the vehicle, by applying and releasing the brake. Once the car is in reverse, the car’s power steering system takes over and begins to do the work. The car backs in at the speed the driver allows, while turning the wheel to fit into the space. Sensors on the front and back of the car tell the car’s computer system where other objects are in relation to the car. In other cars, the self-parking relies on cameras on both ends of the car.

Straightening Out

Once the car is backed in completely, the driver is alerted to brake and put the car in drive so the car can straighten out. The wheels will then align parallel to the curb and the self-parking is complete.

What’s Next?

In the future, driving may be a skill of the past. Self-parking cars use the same technology as accident avoidance systems, which car companies may start to use to create self-driving cars.