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Self-Parking Cars Coming To U.S. 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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Self-Parking Cars Coming To U.S.

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  • Liability issues (Score:5, Informative)

    by Samir Gupta ( 623651 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:24AM (#15063736) Homepage
    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?
  • Here is a video (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:30AM (#15063758)
    http://m90.org/index.php?id=13279 [m90.org]

    Shows a BMW parking itself
  • by Jace of Fuse! ( 72042 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:30AM (#15063762) Homepage
    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.
  • Re:Thank you Jesus (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:35AM (#15063781) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @01:17AM (#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.


    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.
  • Re:Wow ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @02:17AM (#15064147) Homepage Journal
    In California, it's legal to turn into any lane when you're turning left...

    Also in California here, and I'd like to add that the GP was incorrect about passing lanes here as well. The left lane is the "fast lane", not the "passing lane", and if you are driving at the speed limit you are welcome to stay there as long as you'd like. I make a lot of long drives on two-lane highways along the coast where speed traps are prevalent and so are people who like driving 10-15 miles under the limit, so I cruise the entire drive in the left lane going right at 65. Plenty of assholes come flying up on my tail wanting to go 90MPH, but I'm under no obligation to merge every time one of them comes up (and then back again to pass the next slowpoke) just because they want to speed.
  • VIDEOS (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @03:22AM (#15064323)
  • by Quadraginta ( 902985 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @03:46AM (#15064401)
    Well, check this [spectator.org] out, then.
  • Re:Thank you Jesus (Score:2, Informative)

    by Deaths Hand ( 93704 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @04:46AM (#15064543) Homepage
    Indeed it can't be that hard, because you can't pass your driving test in the UK without having to learn how to parallel park. So in theory every driver in the UK should know how to do it (except maybe people driving on a foreign licence).

    Of course that doesn't mean that some people aren't completely crap at parallel parking...
  • Re:Thank you Jesus (Score:4, Informative)

    by Holi ( 250190 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @07:36AM (#15065012)
    Sorry I had to answer this one.

    As do millions of Americans, it's just you were at the biggest tourist trap in the world so of course every yahoo with a trailer hitch and an airstream was there. Check out any major or even minor city people do it everyday and some of them are actually good at it.

    sorry I hate when some one from another country comes and sees the smallest slice of life and starts generalizing about the whole country.
  • Re:Wow ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by huge colin ( 528073 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @08:47AM (#15065365) Journal
    I'd like to add some:

    DON'T brake hard at the last second, especially when approaching an intersection. It makes other people at the intersection nervous.

    DO pay attention to traffic lights, especially when first in line. React promptly when they change.

    DON'T attempt to perform a task that requires the continuous use of one or both hands. (Using a phone, eating, shaving, etc.)

    DON'T follow closely, especially at high speed. During normal traffic flow on the highway, you shouldn't need to use the brakes. If you are braking periodically to avoid running into the back of the car in front of you, then you are too close.

    DON'T use the horn when stopped in heavy traffic. It's not because someone forgot to continue driving that traffic isn't moving, so reminding them won't help.

    DO pull off in a safe place to consult a map (or ask for directions) when unfamiliar with an area. Do NOT simply drive very slowly while searching for your destination.

    DO drive with appropriate equipment in adverse weather conditions. Summer tires on a rear-wheel-drive car in the snow is a hazard to yourself and other drivers.
  • 1933 Dymaxion Car (Score:5, Informative)

    by mzs ( 595629 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @09:58AM (#15065924)
    I think you are thinking of Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Car. There are some videos of it here at the American Master's site, but not of it parking. Though there is one of it pulling a tight U-turn around a police officer. I do think this is the same car I saw a video of where the car came in at an angle and then turned it's rear wheel and eased it's back in to parallel park. There is a bit more info on wikipedia too [wikipedia.org]. (also here [washedashore.com] and here [3wheelers.com])

This restaurant was advertising breakfast any time. So I ordered french toast in the renaissance. - Steven Wright, comedian