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Self-Parking Cars Coming To U.S.

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the parking-is-hard dept.

610

Rio writes "Vehicles that are able to parallel park themselves while drivers sit and relax behind the wheel are coming to the United States, according to a Local 6 News report. New Toyota hybrid cars are now available in Britain with a $700 "parking assist" option. Local 6 news showed video of a driver sitting and allowing the car's steering wheel to turn on its own as it pulled into a tight parking spot on a London street. The reporter never touched the wheel as the car parked itself.Toyota says expect to see the technology pop up in the U.S. soon." Here is our previous coverage of their release in Japan.

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610 comments

First-posting Anonymous Cowards Coming To U.S. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063712)

nignog

oh yeah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063714)

1st booya

Thank you Jesus (2, Funny)

RedHatLinux (453603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063716)

Now, I can relax and not have to worry about learning how to parallel park in the city.

Re:Thank you Jesus (4, Informative)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063781)

I never understood how it can be THAT HARD.

  1. Pull up next to the car in front of the parking space, to where a 1" of your ass end "hangs" behind the said parked car.
  2. Put car into reverse
  3. Turn the wheel slowly and release the break slowly so that you enter the parking space at ~60 degrees
  4. When you are 1" away from the curb, slowly bring the wheel back to rest state
  5. Enjoy your parked car


If you can't master this after about three attempts, let's just say I would recommend a nice icepick lobotomy.

Re:Thank you Jesus (0, Troll)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063851)

I fail to see how a distance of only 1" could be significant.

Re:Thank you Jesus (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063943)

Are you that dumb that you didn't understand that he meant 1'?

Re:Thank you Jesus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063955)

Tell that to NASA! LOL M I RITE? Captcha: sterile

Re:Thank you Jesus (1)

GoodOmens (904827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063860)

I've seen people parallel park and hit a car when they had roughly 10 car lengths between the two said cars.

That was a new level of sad.

Re:Thank you Jesus (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063874)

The last time I had to parallel park was when I took the driving test for my driver's license. That was a long time ago.

Re:Thank you Jesus (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063881)

You forgot:

6. ???
7. Profit!

Just kidding. You forgot the first step - activating your turn signal.

Practice...Practice...Practice (2, Insightful)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063911)

I had to commute to college. I could either spend $200+ for a parking garage spot/quarter (those bastards!) or I could park on the street (i.e. parallel park most of the time). So I practiced for a week and never payed for the garage and just parallel parked every morning, no computers, no rear view cameras, just my head and my hands and feet (wow, what a concept!).

If someone so un-coordinated as me can do it, anyone can do it. So in the end after a week of practice and 5 years later I ended up with $200/quarter*3 quarters/year*5 years=$3000 profit.

Re:Thank you Jesus (4, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063982)

When you are 1" away from the curb, slowly bring the wheel back to rest state


That is the tricky part there. How do you know how close to the curb you are? If you have a good sense of spatial reasoning, you may have a "feel" for it, but a lot of people don't have that skill. The view shown in your mirrors is misleading. If the curb isn't too tall, you can do it "by feel"... you know you're at the curb when the back right tire pushes up against it. On the other hand, if you are parking next to a wall, that's a good way to scrape up your rear fender.


It's not terribly hard with practice, but it does take some skill and if you're not good at it you risk damaging your car, someone else's car, or pissing people off as they wait to pass while you mess it up and have to try again. That's more stress than many people want to have, so I can see why they might like this device.

A Tight Spot??? (5, Interesting)

Wellerite (935166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063718)

a tight parking spot You must be joking - you could fit a Hummer in that spot.

Re:A Tight Spot??? (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063759)

Indeed. Call me when somebody builds a car that's actually designed for parallel parking---direct drive on all four wheels and wheels that rotate a full 90 degrees.... Then it will be interesting. Until my car can move straight sideways, I'm rolling my eyes instead. :-)

Re:A Tight Spot??? (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063845)

It could be coming. [wikipedia.org]

Its not exaactly what you ordered, as the rear wheels don't steer, AFAIK. But it does have such a negligible turning radius that you could literally drive forward into a parking spot, and then turn the car... well, any way you wanted.

Too bad the thing looks like a baby carriage. Probably has the crash rating of one too.

Re:A Tight Spot??? (1)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063853)

wheels that rotate a full 90 degrees...

Great, until a software glitch causes this "feature" to kick in at highway speeds... now that I'd like to see.

Re:A Tight Spot??? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063780)

A Hummer will fit anywhere. Just drive over the other cars parked there.

Re:A Tight Spot??? (1)

Generic Guy (678542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063978)

A Hummer will fit anywhere. Just drive over the other cars parked there.

I think you're confusing the highly durable military grade Humvees against the vastly inferior (and overpriced) consumer edition. My sister-in-law was an army sgt. and says you could literally drive a mil-spec Humvee down a hill into a tree and the car would be fine. Attach a snorkel and the damn thing can go thru deep water. And up on top, you can mount a friggin' machine gun.

None of the above applies to the horrendously fragile H2 or smaller H3. Especially not the gun mount. :(

Danger? (2, Interesting)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063719)

So what happens when a maniac driving too fast blocks the path of travel?

Re:Danger? (0, Offtopic)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063803)

You get this amazing expanding fireball rivaling the best explosions from Holleywood! It's the most incredible thing you've ever seen! It roasts marshmallows in 2 seconds flat, and you get free parts (now colored charcoal black) that get special delivery up to three blocks away! And the crowd yells, "Tamaya!", and "Kagiya!"

Oh Joy (1)

danielluke (598431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063720)

I can finally move to a big city.

Just wait for the lawsuits to start... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063730)

I'm surprised Toyota's insurers are allowing this. I imagine that every person who gets touched by one of those things moving on its own will sue for $millions.

dom

Re:Just wait for the lawsuits to start... (5, Informative)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063762)

The article says that the driver is responsible for controlling the speed of the vehicle via the break pedal. :)

So this really isn't all that much different from someone being run over by your average driver.

Smarter cars (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063731)

Smarter cars will just make dumber drivers.

Re:Smarter cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063763)

Yeah- the last thing we need is drivers who can't parallel park. Think of what would happen if they had to in an emergency and the system failed!

Re:Smarter cars (5, Funny)

LewsTherinKinslayer (817418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063774)

Yeah- the last thing we need is drivers who can't parallel park. Think of what would happen if they had to in an emergency and the system failed!

I think i missed the pressing need for emergency parallel parking skills.

Re:Smarter cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063869)

I think i missed the pressing need for emergency parallel parking skills.

The pressing need would be for drivers who have control over their vehicles. If you can parallel park quickly and without hitting the curb or another car you've got decent control over your car.

Re:Smarter cars (2, Funny)

Propagandhi (570791) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063804)

Maybe in the short term, but once the car vs. human war really kicks off natural selection will kick in and start weeding out the stupids.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, think about this: If cars can park themselves what do they need humans for? .. ..

The answer is lots of things, but nevermind that. Anime and Asimov have taught us that autonomous machines will inevitably rise up against us, this self parking thing is just the first of several tiny robot steps into a dark, tentacle-rape filled future.

Re:Smarter cars (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063836)

Anime and Asimov have taught us that autonomous machines will inevitably rise up against us, this self parking thing is just the first of several tiny robot steps into a dark, tentacle-rape filled future.

I'd recommend Daniel Wilson's How To Survive a Robot Uprising [amazon.com] . It has the skills you need to protect yourself when the metal ones come for you.

Smarter cars=Do your trust their software...? (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063867)

Agree. There will have cars that will slow down or speed up to keep pace with the trafic. Then they will have cars that stay in their own lane automatically, cars that warn the driver if there is a person behind when backing up. All this means is that there will be more and more reliance on software to keep people's lives safe. And if companies will want to cut corners here and there and will just install Windows or Linux on the computer they won't stay business for long. Even Linux is not good enough (/ducks, waiting for /.-ers for through rocks or just really heavy heatsinks, or 80s hard drives). Granted software is already flying thousands of people over the Atlantic "pond" every day, and is flying stuff to Mars. But somehow I see the KIA executives saying "Hmm, we need good software, should we license INTEGRITY/178 or we could save money and just install Windows, heck we all know how to use Windows..."

Re:Smarter cars (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063956)

Not everyone is born with perfect parking skills and abilities, but practically everybody has to drive if s/he wants to work in a city. Would you force a genius violinist to suffer parallel parking trial each day if he just can't figure out how to do the damn thing - despite him fiddling quite well on his Stradivari?

This is not a contrived example. When many years ago I went to get my drivers' license someone else, a man about 30 years old, failed the test. He then proceeded to complain louldly: "How come I can fly my supersonic military jet and I can't drive a stupid car?" :-)

So people can be easily good in one thing and bad in another. You don't complain that Quicken does your finances for you - and so you don't need to complain that someone's else car parks for him. That's what we build all this technology for - to make life simpler for people who want it this way.

Reviews of Technology for Smart Cars (1)

biohack (955639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063994)

"If knowledge is power, then the intellectual-horsepower rating of tomorrow's vehicles is going to be tarmac-shreddingly high."
"And European culture is generally more tolerant of restrictions on individual freedom. A case in point: In a European Airbus, if the pilot pulls the stick back so far that the plane is about to stall, the stick effectively locks up. If an American-made Boeing jet is about to go outside the envelope, a cockpit alarm sounds, but the stick still responds."

Just a couple of quotes that seem custom-made for this discussion from an interesting review of technologies for intelligent cars [popsci.com] in Popular Science.

And a review [impactlab.com] from Impact Labs describes some details of actual hardware and software solutions currently being developed with a goal "to be able, within the next two years, to drive from downtown San Francisco to downtown Los Angeles with 100 percent autonomy--without any human intervention whatsoever."

Wow ... (4, Funny)

bagboy (630125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063732)

Now my kids won't need drivers ed, and I'll save a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to....

Re:Wow ... (5, Insightful)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063749)

Trust me, your kids will still need driver's ed, so they can learn that the left lane is for PASSING, IDIOT, and if you arent PASSING, get OUT of the left lane, IDIOT! Not to mention the whole turn on your turn signal BEFORE you start to turn, and BEFORE you start to brake for the turn. Oh, and the that the accleration lane on an highway onramp is for ACCELERATING, as in you are supposed to match speed with traffic already on the highway, not force it to brake heavily or swerve so you can merge on at 40MPH. And for good measure, I'll throw in when turning at an intersection, turn into the CLOSEST lane. Eg, if you are turning right, turn into the RIGHTmost lane of the road you are turning into, and if you are turning left, turn into the LEFTmost lane of the road you are turning into (and then merge to the right, if you arent passing).

Of course, I suspect its been a long time since driver's ed taught any of that, since so few people seem to be completely ignorant on those issues. And dont even get me started on the idiots that turn right into the left lane without signalling, and then cruse along at 25MPH on the left lane while gabbing on their cellphone, completely oblivious to the line of traffic that has formed behind them thats actually trying to get where they are going.

Re:Wow ... (4, Funny)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063838)

How about the asshole in the F150000000000000000000 super-duper-uber-wow-duty my jeans would chafe the asphalt off Interstate 15-my truck has more chrome than your truck has paint-5-ton aircraft landing lights on highbeam clamp-riveted to your ass for 150 miles in the passing lane who, instead of taking 30 seconds to change lanes, has decided that no driver has a sufficient cruising speed?

After that, we can deal with Miss "my kids are more important than everyone on this planet" who rockets through grocery store parking lots at 40 MPH in a 28 foot SUV terrifying everyone within 75 yards so she can pick up her dry cleaning 90 seconds earlier.

150 miles? (2, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063959)

And you still have'nt pulled into the cruising lane?

Grandparent poster allow me to introduce you to the parent poster.

He's the idiot that thinks you should undertake him because 56 is a plenty fine cruising speed for the passing lane.

Please bitch slap him for all of us.

Re:Wow ... (1)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063878)

and if you are turning left, turn into the LEFTmost lane of the road you are turning into
In California, it's legal to turn into any lane when you're turning left (assuming there's only one left turn lane). Of course, it's still a good idea to turn into the leftmost lane, but it's not required. (People turning right have priority anyway, so legally you still have to wait for them, no matter which lane you want to turn left into.)

Re:Wow ... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063979)

Not if you have a green arrow. That means they'd have a red and are required to stop. If you have a solid green, yes. You yield to oncoming traffic (because they could go straight instead).

Re:Wow ... (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063983)

People turning right on red have no priority whatsoever, and if you are turning on green you still have to try to miss the pedestrians.

Also, in Canada left turn is allowed only into the leftmost lane; you move as necessary afterward.

Re:Wow ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063981)

been doing my part to kill assholes with hypertension like you for the better portion of 3 decades. I'm doing you a favor anyway, maybe you'll learn some time management skills instead of hauling ass down the freeway at 90 mph in a 55 to save 5 minutes and then cutting off 10 minutes worth of traffic waiting to exit just so you can scratch your lazy fucking ass a couple more times before you get out of bed. there is a sort of zen to driving nice and slow (read: 5 over the legal limit) in the leftmost lanes, indeed.

Re:Wow ... (1)

MarkChovain (952233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063775)

In some states, it is no longer a requirement to know how to parallel park in order to get a license. Therefore, even though I've been driving for two years, I still can't parallel park.

Sad but true.

I'll even give him credit, but I dont give a speech the article was about how my scores have been forced to stand by and wait for the cooperation that we see in ants is just me, or does it seem that this study is correct enough to be smart and even when I don't?

Re:Wow ... (1)

CTalkobt (81900) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064027)

>> Now my kids won't need drivers ed, and I'll save a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to....

With the US so sue-happy this is a series of law-suits waiting to happen. Even when people don't have it engaged and screw up who are they going to say did it? Themselves or the device? The driver may be responsible for hitting the gas pedal but when you introduce a degree of fault by having the car control the steering you're looking for trouble.

Wait for the 90 degree wheels. I seem to remember a car that was demoed a while back that had them although I think it was mainly a prototype. Alas, Don't remember the specifics tho.

Now for some off-topic Karma burn:

Trust me the company you implied in your post isn't the cheapest... If you're a homeowner then look into who you've got your mortgage with. If you're not a homeowner look at the other insurance companies - especially the ones that don't spend buckoos of $$ advertising their rates. CALL AROUND - COMPARE - USE THE YELLOW PAGES.

Road Test (1)

BongoBen (776302) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063734)

Now if the car can make a 3-point turn, it could pass a driver's test.

Re:Road Test (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063947)

You forgot 'navigating the ring of idiots'. Er, I mean, traffic circle.

We'll probably see that technology when they successfully adapt the asteroid dodging technology they used on the space shuttles in Armageddon.
*Beep beep beep*
*WHUMP*

"...what was that?"
"Pedestrian."
"Oh."

Liability issues (5, Informative)

Samir Gupta (623651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063736)

This has been available for several years now in Japan and other non-US markets. The reason why Toyota didn't release this tech in the US was fear of liability lawsuits in the US' sue-happy culture if something went wrong. Have they changed their stance on this?

Re:Liability issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063777)

You're right and I don't think it'll be soon that Toyota will want to take such a risk. See another reply [slashdot.org] down.

Re:Liability issues (1)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063832)

This has been available for several years now in Japan and other non-US markets. The reason why Toyota didn't release this tech in the US was fear of liability lawsuits in the US' sue-happy culture if something went wrong.

Where did you get this from?

Have they changed their stance on this?

Why are you asking this if you know the above to be true?

Re:Liability issues (2, Insightful)

DigitlDud (443365) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063929)

I don't see how liability is an issue if the driver is responsible for braking.

Buyer indemnifies carmaker? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063937)

Maybe they'll just make you sign an agreement that says you'll pay for all of their legal expenses and settlements in case someone wants to sue... and plenty of folks are stupid enough to blindly sign anything without reading it.

In related news... (5, Funny)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063737)

Self-posting stories coming to Slashdot.

This involves the finely-tuned process of randomly selecting an article from two days ago, changing a few words around, and clicking "Submit."

Come to think of it, this has been going on for quite some time now.

Re:In related news... (1)

MarkChovain (952233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063912)

Probably true, as well. On the contrary, what is legal and what is going to kill a user who really knows what they're doing will be a genius yet. Nice to know that the software he use to login into remote systems need help to keep updated and have feature increases.

Who's liable for screwups? (4, Interesting)

mobiux (118006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063744)

So if this system screws up, mis-calculates the available space and dents a ferrari, is toyota going to pony up?

Re:Who's liable for screwups? (3, Insightful)

osmodion (716658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063785)

Of course not. I'm willing to bet that the lease/sale contract will specifically cover Toyota if there is an accident during park assist. Since the driver still needs to be controlling the speed, via the brake, the driver must be paying attention and is in a position to prevent an accident. Therefore, without a serious system failure (along the lines of any other manufacturing defect), it will still be the driver's fault.

Re:Who's liable for screwups? (1)

O_at_TT (953533) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063825)

I assume "you" are. (the driver, err owner/passenger of the vehicle).

Just like you are responsible for your dog and your under-18 kids, you are responsible for your robotic car.

It's then up to you to turn the psychological trauma of getting your butt kicked by an angry Ferrari owner into a class-action lawsuit against Toyota.

IANAL, though maybe I should be...

-Oliver / TreasureTunes.com [treasuretunes.com]

Re:Who's liable for screwups? (4, Insightful)

McCarrum (446375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063928)

If you have Cruise Control active, and you hit someone, can you claim against that?

No.

How soon? (4, Funny)

toupsie (88295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063745)

How soon will there be legal ads on TV asking if you have been injured by a self-parking car?

Almost a good solution ... (4, Funny)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063750)

But is it smart enough to move itself when it senses the parking enforcement officer approaching with a ticket.

Re:Almost a good solution ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063814)

Yes. They are programmed to run over parking enforcement officers repeatedly, GTA style.

Re:Almost a good solution ... (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063913)

So would that be Greater Toronto Area ;)

(Posted in wrong place the first time ... shoulda' used Preview!)

Re:Almost a good solution ... (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063900)

So would that be Greater Toronto Area ;)

Great, the last qualification.... (3, Interesting)

stox (131684) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063753)

on driving tests to keep the completely brain-dead off the road will be eliminated. I hope examiners will demand that this feature be turned off for testing.

Re:Great, the last qualification.... (1)

LewsTherinKinslayer (817418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063795)

on driving tests to keep the completely brain-dead off the road will be eliminated. I hope examiners will demand that this feature be turned off for testing.

I really doubt that being able to parallel park means much as far as how "brain-dead" a driver is. I don't know anything about the rest of the country, but here in Western New York, the average person's driving habits are beginning to get rather foolish. I'm hold particular contempt for all the people who pass on the shoulder at 50mph to get around someone making a left hand turn. Great idea, suddenly veer into a non-lane with little to no warning, into what is often an area you can't see far ahead in. These people are a pedestrian fatality waiting to happen.

Yet those people can parallel park a car and make a three-point turn, so they're qualified to drive. Feh.

Re:Great, the last qualification.... (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063927)

Nothing that couldn't be solved with a doppler radar and one of those pop-up anti-terrorist barriers. Zoom. Splat.

Re:Great, the last qualification.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063899)

In north carolina, you're not required to know how to parallel park. At least, not in wake county (where Raleigh, the capital is). The driving test involves driving maybe a quarter of a mile, through at least one stop sign and one rail road crossing, and making a three point turn before returning to the DMV office.

Re:Great, the last qualification.... (1)

Kpt Kill (649374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064016)

In ohio, parallel isn't required to get your license. And if it was, I would assume most people, myself included, would find the smallest econ car that I could, and test in that. Who in their right mind would test in a full sized conversion van?

progress? (1)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063754)

Figuring out how to parallel park is a right of passage worth preserving. Just like learning to spell parallel.

Does it work the other way around? (4, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063756)

This is great and can't possibly get to the U.S. fast enough, but what it really needs to have is the feature for reversing the process so people can get out of parking spots (maybe it does, can't view the video on this computer). Any parking spot. I can't count how many times I've seen a driver so damn eager to get on the cell phone as soon as he gets in the car that he can't get out of the parking spot without tying up street traffic or parking lot traffic while driving with one arm and half a brain, 'cause god forbid one should put that stupid phone down and drive.

Here is a video (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063758)

http://m90.org/index.php?id=13279 [m90.org]

Shows a BMW parking itself

tight ? (1, Redundant)

phreakv6 (760152) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063765)

you could land a jumbo fscking jet in that tight spot

Re:tight ? (0)

L0stm4n (322418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063811)

It was a funny angle!

Great. (0, Troll)

alphasubzero949 (945598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063770)

Will these new hybrids toast my bread for breakfast and hold my cell phone for me while I'm behind the wheel too?

flying? (1)

lateralus_1024 (583730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063783)

Not the flying cars that I was promised, but it's a start.

Finally.... (1)

zivr (902393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063787)

Technology is supporting my drinking habit, first a beer fetching robot, and now a car that will park itself if im to drunk! w00t.

Glad to see they put this in a hybird car. (0, Offtopic)

MarkChovain (952233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063790)

I love the Hybrid car philosophy, it is a step away from gas-guzzling SUV's. This is a great incentive for people to buy a Prius over another car too, and the body on the new models look alot better than the older ones. My friends dad has a Prius, and it drives fast, and it rides ALOT more smooth than a traditional car. I just don't know why this idea was never embrassed before. Also, how come we don't have cars that can drive themself on the interstate? It doesn't seem like it would be hard at all, since they could just implement sensors into an interstate quite simply since it is all managed by the government, an open standard could be created by the Govt, and all the car companies could follow.

Re:Glad to see they put this in a hybird car. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063898)

actually... they've been testing such a thing for many years. Basically, a magnetic strip runs center of each lane, which allows the car to determine if it's veering one way or the other. In addition, the cars are built with sensors which allow for advanced forms of "drafting" whereby each vehicle is spaced most efficiently to enhance fuel economy. Read about it 5+ years ago in a readers' digest. Not entirely sure what happened afterwards, though.

On an interesting side note, certain parts of Philadelphia tested a "diamond" system. Essentially, diamonds are painted on the roads' surface and you are to keep one diamond between yourself and the car in front of you. Basically, it's an aid to judge distance. The one problem they ran into while testing was that people kept using the space to jump in the lane :p. Go figure.

Parking meter... (2, Interesting)

cl191 (831857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063792)

Now if this thing will have on board RFID to the parking meter or somehow has an arm to put quarters into the meter will be perfect.

Most new drivers suck (-1, Troll)

Vskye (9079) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063793)

I notice kids nowdays driving over the speed limit, talking on the cell while adjusting the tunes, and just unaware of what the hell is in front of them. (same goes for those old farts, ya know..)
 
To not be able to parallel is lame. I have to laugh sometimes with the fart machines. (jap cars with same sounding exaust) They suck! If they ever actually road in / drived a late 60's or early 70's muscle car, they might understand. ;)

Re:Most new drivers suck (1)

codeviking (685537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063856)

I agree about the fart machines. I guess it is supposed to sound powerful, but it doesn't. My friend used to drive a '69 Oldsmobile with a bored-out 455 in it. That car had power: a deep, rich rumble. You can't compare that to some kid with an exhaust pipe farting down the road.

Re:Most new drivers suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063862)

funny...most "jap" cars are assembled in the states now. and seriously, what exactly are you compensating for? perhaps a lingering /. addiction.....

Re:Most new drivers suck (1)

DigitlDud (443365) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063952)

And most "American" cars are assembled in Mexico and Canada.

Re:Most new drivers suck (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063962)

note: "rode in / drove" ... are you even old enough to remember those muscle cars? ;)

Most of the people with those 'fart machines' just put a toner on their exhaust, not really accomplishing much of all. Don't judge japanese sports cars based on how most of them look (fools with body kits, NOS stickers, and wing-size spoilers).

Though, some japanese sports cars ARE a bit better than american sports cars: Lighter bodies, higher revving engines, and better handling. Try comparing the handling and acceleration of, say, a '93 civic hatchback with an integra GSR engine swap (and all that entails) to a corvette, and you'll understand.

Compare:

61 Stingray to a 2002 subaru impreza wrx, and you see a 0-60 in 6.2 seconds compared to 5.5 seconds. Also note that the wrx has all wheel drive, including steering: when you turn the wheel a little bit, it turns all four wheels in the same direction to ease lane changes. Turn it more, and the rear wheels begin to turn in the opposite direction, allowing you to take corners much tighter. Yeah, your muscle car can get there in a straight line maybe a little faster than the WRX, but can it take a turn at 60 miles an hour without sliding?

Compare the same stingray to a mitsubishi lancer evolution VIII, and you see 6.2 seconds compared to 3.5 seconds.

In a true race, and not a flat-out drag race, I'd take a Japanese or European sports car over an American hog any day.

Not to mention, they're more reliable... 60's and 70's muscle cars sound awesome, and pack a lot of punch, but they don't hold up to the sheer technical superiority of modern Japanese cars. Don't believe for one second that the morons with ricer kits on their cars represent Japanese sports cars one bit.

Damn! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063826)

No need for <URL:http://www.parkinglessons.com/>.

Obligatory (3, Funny)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063840)

In America, cars parallel park you.
In Soviet Russia, you parallel park cars!

As one of the first inventors of self parking cars (0, Troll)

schoolsucks (570755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063847)

I am glad to hear this. These days I am not working on self parking cars anymore, but focusing more on open source projects. Reading this just made my day.

Re:As one of the first inventors of self parking c (1, Flamebait)

know1 (854868) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063963)

you sure do invent a lot of stuff dude. according to your last few comments recently you invented self parking cars, bluetooth, screenshots, encryption....and was one of the original programmers at microsoft. I'm glad a man of your talent is now working on open source projects but please tell me - how do you do it?
what a guy

Autovalet (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063875)

Now if these cars would just park themselves far from where they drop me off, we can get rid of street parking in Manhattan. The cars can park themselves outside the city center where parking is plentiful/cheap/free, and we can triple the capacity of our existing streets.

Lose control? (3, Interesting)

mercuryswitch (952779) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063905)

What I'm concerned about is what if you accidentally hit the assist switch while driving on the freeway, or if the auto-pilot device could be over-ridden, or hi-jacked, and perhaps you can lose control of your car, from some mischievous kid tampering with your on-board computer system.

Re:Lose control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063934)

you are nuts [slashdot.org]

Re:Lose control? (2, Insightful)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063970)

Well for starters, im gonna guess you need to be stopped to engage the assist mode. Also, I don't think your average young mischevious punk could figure out how to 'hack' the thing. Car computers tend to be magical black boxes whos inner workings are carefuly guarded secrets. And lastly, all else failing you can always just hit the brakes. Thats what they're there for.

New vehicle technology always sounds scary, but eventually you'll wonder how you ever survived without it. ABS, anyone?

Re:Lose control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063988)

Sounds more fun to hit the cruise control while parking.

Re:Lose control? (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064013)

In Prius the gear selector is completely foolproof because it only signals the car's computers what you'd like to do - and that does not mean a thing if the computer thinks it unwise. For example, switching to reverse at 60 mph won't break anything (and nothing would happen.) The worst you could do is to accidentally switch to 'B' position and lose some efficiency (this setting activates engine braking instead of regen braking.)

I guess for some people (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063906)

I can't imagine myself ever using anything like that. I can park and get out of a space that is like 10cm longer than my car, sure it takes some time, but could a robot car do that? Not unless it has 90degree rotating wheels.

So, if you know someone who gets a car like that, would you trust that person with your car?

Will this feature be allowed in driving tests? :) How about electronic brains, will they be allowed?

Re:I guess for some people (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063975)

Huh? If you can do it, the car can do it too. If the car couldn't do it, then how the hell would you? Unless your idea of parallel parking is to get out and *lift* your car into its parking spot, Ahnold. ;)

Stand back, keep children and pets close. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063910)

Parking is the easy part! Finding a space these days is the trick.

Self-posting comments coming to Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063939)

Self-posting comments coming to Slashdot.

This finely-tuned process involves randomly selecting a comment from two hours ago, and clicking "Submit" after changing a few words around.

This has been going on for quite some time now, come to think of it.

wow! (0, Troll)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063945)

Finally, a car that women drivers really can drive!

But does it run Linux? (1)

Odocoileus (802272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063948)

Now that the car has the mechanical ability to control the steering and such, it shouldn't be so hard to supply the system with a new logic. Add in some extra cameras to watch the road, tie in the ol' gps, and you get a real smart car that drives you around. Cool.

Re:But does it run Linux? (1)

Odocoileus (802272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063972)

Or at least you could fairly easily install a remote control system. It could be operated from a pda over wifi, or something. It would be useful in parking lots, etc.

Great.. (3, Interesting)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063961)

This is all fine and dandy untill it hits a kid. Then who is to blame for it? The driver, the company who make the car or none of the above (which I bet the company will try to claim)?

Used Car Salesman (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063991)

Tsk tsk. "Self-parking" is used-car-salesman talk for stalling.
     
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