CES sees app that can park a car
Drivers who struggle to reverse into tight parking spaces could soon find an answer to their problem in an app that can park a car.
An automatic parking assist system was unveiled by German electronics company Bosch at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
It allows a driver to get out of the car then guide it into the parking space by swiping a virtual image on their smartphone.
Sensors in the car scan the parking space as the driver passes by, then, with the driver inside the car or outside, either reverses into a parking bay or parallel parks on the side of a road.
The firm also showed how car users will be able to make hands-free calls and enter driving directions using just their voices, while sensor technology will also help users park their cars themselves and stay in lane on motorways.
Bosch Chairman Werner Struth has already said he believes driverless cars will be a reality but that they will arrive gradually, with this driver assistance technology marking the first step.
Demonstrating the technology at Bosch's Driverless Car Experience at CES, Fred Sejalon, engineering manager at Bosch, said: "The vehicle is fitted with 12 ultra-sonic sensors, and when the driver wishes to park they just have to enable the system and sensors start scanning the environment.
"If a suitable parking space is found the driver can either stay in the vehicle or step out and, using their smartphone, let the vehicle do the rest. The system controls vehicle speed and the steering wheel and gear shift."
The technology can be used in any car as long as it has the capability to allow control of the steering and gears. It will be available in 2015.
Mr Sejalon added: "This is good for everybody, especially for parking in a traffic situation or anybody who doesn't feel comfortable parallel or perpendicular parking, especially when the visibility is limited.
"There is a lot of hype about autonomous driving and that is a stepping stone in that direction."
Bosch also unveiled technology to brake a car if it detects a pedestrian or an obstacle in the road.
The automatic emergency breaking system uses a sensor mounted behind the windscreen to sense dangers in the path of the car, and halt if the driver fails to.
Xavier Zhu, a technical manager at Bosch, said: "The sensors works in the manner of the human eye.
"There is a camera that sees what the driver sees but can measure the distance of any obstacle, be it pedestrians or obstacles in the road, and can give a signal to the brakes to engage if the driver is not paying attention."
This technology will come pre-installed in cars and the reaction time can be adjusted according to manufacturer specifications, he added.