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Another new technology from Ford is all here to sweep you off your feet.

Ford can now help park cars in spaces so tight one couldn’t get out of the door even if one could get the car in the space.

The Fully Assisted Parking Aid for backing into perpendicular and angled parking spaces was demonstrated in Belgium, along with Obstacle Avoidance technology that deals with slow cars and slower pedestrians in front of the driver, by braking or steering around them.

Push-button parking

The Full Assisted Parking Aid (FAPA) is a follow-on to Ford’s Active Parking Assist) for automated parallel parking, done with the driver in the car. As with APA, FAPA uses ultrasonic sensors to scan for an open parking space at speeds as high as 19 mph (30 kph). When the car finds a suitable spot it alerts the driver, who can stay in the car or get out and use a remote to finish the parking job. The car then backs itself in to the parking space.>/p>

The car would automatically switch gears, accelerate, steer, and brake. The driver’s function is to keep his or her finger on the button during the maneuver.

Obstacle Avoidance

The other technology unveiled by Ford is Obstacle Avoidance. Sensors direct the steering and brakes to avoid hitting cars and people that are stopped or slowed in the lane ahead. The system first warns the driver with a chime (if there’s time) and if there’s no response from the driver, it assumes control momentarily, scans the roadway for gaps to the left or right of the hazard, and either brakes or moves the car to the side. Ford says a third of drivers who sense a rear-end collision coming don’t take evasive action.

Obstacle Avoidance uses multiple sensors: three radar units, ultrasonic sensors, and a camera to scan as far out as 660 feet (200 meters, or three football fields). Ford’s project was part of a European research project comprising 29 groups, called Accident Avoidance by Active Intervention of Intelligent Vehicles.

Ford already has some other forms of active safety including Active City Stop — what others called city safety — to scan the road and prevent low-speed collisions. Ford also has Lane Keeping Aid (lane departure warning or lane keep assist) to steer the car back into lane if the driver drifts off. A half-dozen automakers offer semi-automated parallel parking, including Audi, BMW, Ford, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Volvo, Ford, Kia, and Volkswagen. Outside the US, Volkswagen offers perpendicular self-parking and others have shown prototypes. Virtually any automaker could do automated parallel parking since the underlying components can be sourced from third parties.

However, its unknown how soon the two technologies will come to market.

We estimate it would be coming up soon.


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