Although more cars have self-parking features, Americans say they are not ready to give up control. According to a study by AAA, nearly 80 percent of American drivers are confident in their parallel parking abilities and only one-in-four would trust technology to park their vehicle. However, even though human drivers are confident, AAA testing found self-parking technology outperformed unassisted drivers with fewer curb hits, fewer maneuvers, faster time and parking the car closer to the curb. Unfortunately, sometimes the cars parked too close to the curb which could cause damage.
In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA tested self-parking features on five vehicles: a 2015 Lincoln MKC, a 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML400 4Matic, a 2015 Cadillac CTS-V Sport, a 2015 BMW i3 and a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Limited.
Compared to drivers that manually parallel parked with the aid of a back-up camera, AAA found:
- Drivers using self-parking systems experienced 81 percent fewer curb strikes.
- Self-parking systems parallel parked the vehicle using 47 percent fewer maneuvers, with some systems completing the task in as little as one maneuver.
- Self-parking systems were able to park a vehicle 10 percent faster.
- Self-parking systems were able to park 37 percent closer to the curb.
- Among U.S. adult drivers, 86 percent of men feel confident in their parallel parking ability, while 71 percent of women report feeling confident.
- Most U.S. adult drivers (72 percent) would not trust self‐parking vehicle technology to parallel park their vehicle. Men and women distrust the technology equally.
Self-parking systems are not without flaws. AAA found that some systems parked the vehicles exceedingly close to the curb, leaving wheels and tires vulnerable to scratches and costly repairs.
“AAA recommends that drivers leave six-to-eight inches between the vehicle and the curb when parallel parking,” warned AAA’s John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “With some systems leaving as little as a half-inch buffer, AAA urges automakers to increase this distance to prevent vehicle damage.”