Ten years ago, Volkswagen was the first automobile manufacturer in the world to introduce parking assistants. The system, which automatically parks a car, was under development from the early 2000s and came to be known as Park Assist when it was introduced with the Touran MPV in 2006.
Initially, the parking options were rather limited – only two moves were possible and parking was only possible parallel to the road. The ‘vehicle length plus 1.40 metres’ requirement resulted in some frustration and so did the search for suitable parking spaces, particularly in narrow city centres, sometimes difficult.
But development continued and the system gained more sophisticated and intelligent programming to make it more functional and user-friendly. By 2010, parking in spaces lengthwise could be done more quickly. Two years later, the option of parking at right-angles to the road was added. Thanks to ever more complex algorithms, the total of 12 ultrasonic sensors on the vehicle made it possible to consistently and precisely assess the environment. And the required buffer in the size of parking space? This consistently decreased down to a mere 90 cm.
What was still missing was forward parking. Again, it was only a matter of time before the Volkswagen engineers presented a solution. In 2015, the Generation 3 Park Assist needed only 80 cm of elbow room to slot the driver into the parking space that was located automatically as the car moved along. An ‘emergency brake’ is now available too. Although this cannot completely eliminate parking accidents, it can at least minimise the damage.
In the past decade, a lot has happened in the cockpit too. Formerly, only a simple representation of the environment consisting of 6 objects, similar to the earliest computer games from the 1980s, was possible. Now the detailed environment and the swing-out area can be shown on a digital map, calculated by an intelligent system.
Park Assist is available in a number of Volkswagen models today, including the latest Passat B8. To experience this automated parking system, contact Wearnes Automotive or any authorised Volkswagen dealer in Malaysia (to locate a showroom, visit www.volkswagen.com.my).