New Technology Allows Ford Vehicles to Park Themselves

Dennis Faas's picture

Hoping to turn their sagging fortunes around, Ford is set to debut a highly-anticipated technology allowing cars to parallel park themselves without driver assistance. Better yet, the entire self-parking experience is promised to be scratch-and-dent-free.

The technology relies on ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear of the automobile, combined with electric power steering to angle and guide the vehicle into tight parking spaces. (Source:

While the process sounds complicated, all a driver has to do is push one button and the system takes over from there. A visual or audible interface then activates advising the driver about the proximity of other cars, objects and people.

Although the driver still needs to shift the transmission and operate the gas and brake pedals, the steering wheel never has to be touched to park the vehicle.

What if oncoming traffic or pedestrians interfere with the vehicle while in self-park mode?

The sensor system monitors all blind spots and notifies the driver with a warning indicator light in the side view mirror if something is fast approaching in the parking area.

Another interesting feature: having electric power steering can help improve fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions in the long run. This is because electric power steering runs on the car battery rather than a complex hydraulic pump system. (Source:

Ford admits not being the first manufacturer to offer a self-park feature. Lexus already has a luxury line of vehicles with a camera-based parking system that can judge whether the automobile has enough clearance for a particular spot. Still, Ford is promoting their sensor system as the easiest to use (a simple push of the button) as well as the only one to function in downhill parking situations.

The self-park feature is expected to debut as an option for the 2010 Lincoln MKS sedan and the new Lincoln MKT luxury crossover vehicle.

The company is also planning to equip nearly ninety percent of all their Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles with electric power steering by 2012.

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