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Innovation

Parking all by itself

Park Assist automatically steers vehicles into spaces parallel to the kerb or bay spaces.

The parking space looks big enough to reverse into. Indicator on, you start to turn the steering wheel and look over your shoulder. Your first attempt fails, and your second attempt invites an angry sounding of horns from the queue backing up behind.

Familiar with this situation? The parallel parking steering assistant, known as Park Assist, is on hand to help. The assistant steers the vehicle automatically into parallel roadside parking spaces or bay parking spaces. The Park Assist takes over steering control itself and manoeuvres the vehicle as required into the chosen parking space. It handles all the work involved, including measuring the space first, setting the start position and manipulating the steering wheel. All the driver does is accelerate and brake as needed.

“The driver can really just forget about having to park,” explains developer Jan Brandes. “Park Assist always identifies the right path into the space.”

The driver activates the parking assistant by pressing the ‘Park Assist’ button in the center console. Once the driver then drives at no more than 40 km/h and at a distance of 0.5 to 1.5 m away from the roadside kerb, the assistant scans both sides of the road. It will then identify all possible parking spaces, for example even on bends, next to kerbs or between trees. If any space measures at least 0.8 m (depending on the vehicle) longer than the vehicle, a message appears in the multi-function display telling the driver “Parking space found.”

Then the driver indicates to show which side of the road they wish to park on, and Park Assist guides the vehicle into the correct starting position. Engaging reverse gear activates the parallel parking steering assistant and the automatic steering control mechanism, and the vehicle steers itself into the parking space. The driver simply activates the accelerator and brake by following the images shown in the display, moving the vehicle either slightly forward or back as required. The number of maneuvers needed depends on the size of the parking space. The shorter or narrower the space is, the more maneuvers required. The driver can override Park Assist at any time – to do so, they just need to hold the steering wheel or turn off the switch in the center console.

THE EXPERT


Jan Brandes is a technician specializing in electronics and he joined Volkswagen in 2015. As Project Manager for Driver Assistance Systems, he is in charge of Park Assist.