11.09.2005Party on, party people
From Wired: Cars Chat and Park Themselves
Toyota displayed some of the most impressive demonstrations at the show, including its Intelligent Parking Assist, currently available in Japan and Europe. Toyota officials said these add-ons will likely be released in the United States in 2006.
When the driver moves into position to begin parallel parking and puts the car in reverse, a rear view comes up on the Prius' standard dashboard screen, displaying the available spot. The screen also uses the painted parking lines as guidelines and draws its own lines over them on the display -- similar to how television sports commentators draw on top of an image.
When the driver clicks on the screen to let the Prius take over the parallel parking, the wheel moves on its own. The driver uses only the brake pedal to control speed. The whole operation takes just several seconds.
The system will "take (away) the fear of parallel parking for new drivers," said Allan Pett, another Toyota engineer.
Another technology, which may take a few more years to fully deploy, is vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Using the upcoming 802.11p wireless standard, General Motors equipped two cars with wireless transponders that broadcast various pieces of information such as speed and braking status to nearby cars. When one car brakes in front of another, even one down the road and out of sight, a small icon on the dashboard of the trailing vehicle indicates a stopped automobile up ahead.