Recently I was in San Francisco to see the latest developments that the Ford Motor Company has been working on. One of my favorite elements of current models is the available parking assist feature for automatically parking in tight spots (I wrote about it in my review of the 2013 Escape).
One of the issues with parking assist (from any car company) is that sometimes it can be a bit challenging to get out of the spot the car parked itself into. Ford’s currently testing what they are calling Remote Park Assist which will effectively unpark itself as well as allow you to park in tight spots where you may not even be able to open the door, by letting you get out of the vehicle before it drives into the tight spot.
The future is here! Although it was a little strange to see an unmanned car being controlled by a smartwatch…I think that may take some getting used to for the general public.
Watch as a Ford engineer uses a ‘smart key fob’ and a smartwatch (works with Android or iOS) to park this prototype vehicle at Pier 27 in San Francisco:
On the other side of the parking lot was a couple of 2016 F-150 trucks with 16″ trailers attached. This is to demonstrate their new Pro Trailer Backup Assist which will be available beginning this winter. Having never had to park a big truck and trailer combo, I was truly the newbie to try out this new technology. Essentially the truck has a small controller built into the dash that allows you to steer the trailer into it’s parking spot and the truck does what it needs to do in order to land the trailer into the spot – basically you’re just driving the trailer and the robot is driving the truck.
James at Hello Vancity risked his life to capture my parking job from the back seat of the truck:
As you can see, these smart parking upgrades are pretty interesting…in both cases, we’re getting one step closer to the self-driving car where we are just passengers to the robots driving us around.
Disclosure: Ford Motor Company paid for my travel and accommodations during the visit to their facilities but the content is my own.