The Wall Street Journal takes a look a quirky new technology: self-parking vehicles. Would you want to use this technology in your fleet operations?
WALL STREET JOURNAL- When the Lexus LS 460 was unveiled at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show in 2006, the vehicle and its ability to parallel park itself was a novel concept that became the buzz of the show. It was the first time consumers and media had seen a self-parking car offered in North America.
Now, a handful of other manufacturers have rolled out their own self-parking systems, which guide cars into parking spaces with little help from the driver. Five manufacturers—Ford, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercury and Toyota—are currently offering self parking on nine different 2010 models, according to Edmunds.com.
From a market standpoint, the self-parking systems are poised to become more popular, said Karl Brauer of Edmunds.com. “Car companies are looking for ways to distinguish themselves from competitors and it’s getting harder and harder to do that on traditional points like safety and reliability,” he said.
But market research shows that it may take a while for self-parking systems to penetrate the mainstream consumer market. When consumers were surveyed about self-parking systems as part J.D. Power’s June 2009 emerging technology report, which tracks the newest technologies in vehicles, self-parking garnered the lowest interest. “People felt they didn’t need this feature, and many said they infrequently drove in areas where they would have to parallel park,” said Mike Marshall, director of automotive emerging technologies at J.D. Power. The feature with the highest interest? Blind-spot detection.
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