Park assist is a system commonly packaged with loads of different, advanced driver assistance systems which aim to make the process of parking a lot easier and smoother. The necessity of these systems is highly dependent on the driver in question and the car itself.
If you are a relatively inexperienced driver or you just lack sufficient confidence when it comes to complex parking maneuvers like parallel parking, these systems can be of great use to you. Maybe you are living in crowded cities and you just want the extra layer of protection.
It may be because your car is extremely large or limited by lack of visibility, or you aren’t confident enough, these systems can benefit you if you use them properly. That being said, the vast majority of customers that do have these systems fitted to their cars don’t use them all that often.
So it’s really up to you to decide if these systems are something worth considering, but you should be aware that you are always the one at fault, no matter how a potential accident might occur. If you do opt for these systems, make sure you keep a watchful eye while parking at all times.
## How does park assist work?
These systems usually comprise radars, parking sensors, and a set of cameras. There are different levels of these systems, from the more basic ones that only aid you with steering input or the most advanced ones that manage to park the car completely without any driver input at all.
When you engage park assist your car will actively start looking for nearby parking spots. The system will scan the available space and prompt you to park if the system deems the spot appropriate. After you find the spot, line the car up appropriately and engage the system.
At this point, you are either tasked with shifting from front to reverse or to just simply hold a button. Be sure to follow all the instructions as intended and always be aware of your surroundings. You should especially be aware of all moving traffic and nearby pedestrians.
The car will tell you when to do something, and before you accept it make sure that it is indeed safe to do so. This process usually takes a bit less than it would otherwise last without these systems engaged. After you’ve parked the car, the system will disengage and you can leave the car.
## Park Assist reliability
As far as reliability is concerned, these systems are indeed useful, and this has been proven by an extensive study carried out by AAA UK. This study concluded that parking assist lowers the chance of wheel curbing for up to 81% which is certainly impressive.
The study also concluded that the time it takes to park a car using these systems is decreased by up to 11% and that the efficiency and the sheer number of maneuvers are also greatly improved by these systems.
But these systems are not perfect and even though they do lower the chance of wheel curbing by a considerable margin, they do increase the chance of wheel curbing when getting out of a parking spot as these systems sometimes tend to park way too close to the curb.
No matter how reliable these systems can be, they can never be perfect. So it’s imperative for you to always keep a sentient eye on the process and make sure that all safety standards are satisfied. Because if something does happen, legally it’s your fault and not the fault of the system.
## The car and the system in question
If we take the driver out of the equation, the car itself is the only objective perspective on the necessity of park assist. Some cars like the Nissan Micra for example are small, incredibly easy to see out of and the turning radius is also more than appropriate.
Others like a 7-seater SUV, a sports car, or a long-wheelbase Mercedes Benz S-Class are considerably larger and thus way harder to see out of. Some sports cars are designed with dedicated slats on the rear windshield which completely obstruct rear visibility.
These systems make way more sense on such vehicles as they compensate for the lack of general ingredients necessary for easy parking and especially so considering the value of some of these cars. If you are not an experienced chauffeur, a long wheelbase S-Class feels like an aircraft carrier on the road.
But the system itself is also a big part of the equation as there are different levels of sophistication. The newly released Mercedes S-Class can autonomously approach a parking spot, exit it and arrive at a designated drop-off spot while more basic systems can only steer when you deem it safe enough.
## FAQ Section
### Do park assist systems come as standard?
More often than not these systems are a part of expensive driver assistance systems optional equipment lists. Even though some manufacturers might even offer the basic levels as standard, those levels are not used all that often.
If you do want state-of-the-art parking assist feature, you are looking at a $500 bill increase at a minimum, and sometimes these packs can cost multiple thousands of dollars.
### How often do people use park assistance?
Not as often as you might think. The number of cars sold with these systems would suggest that people do use these systems often, but that’s simply not the case. The reason why lots of newer cars are bought with parking assistance is that you have to buy park assistance to get more useful features like a 360 camera.
In most cases, people just park by themselves and there is no need for additional parking assistance systems. Furthermore, parallel parking is not all that common as loads of people don’t live in the city.
### Is park assist safe?
It should be, but there is no way to tell for certain. Sometimes these systems misinterpret the real world which can lead to serious injury and damage claims. If you want to maximize the levels of safety you have to always keep a watchful eye on what the system is doing and be sure to slam on the brakes if something goes south.
These systems are often portraited as systems that take the strain out of everyday commuting, but that’s not the case as your levels of attention should be considerably higher when using these systems. Never rely on any type of assistance system to replace you, and the safety levels will be considerably higher.