Many years ago, in my younger days, I watched a Bruce Willis, science fiction movie, which involved him being driven around in a driverless vehicle. At the time, I laughed. Making fun of what the movie showed would be our vehicles of tomorrow. Thinking it would never happen.

In the last couple of years – Google has been test driving its self-driving cars. Making statements such as:

“We’re spending less time in near-collision states. Our car is driving more smoothly and more safely than our trained professional drivers.”

And on saturday I watched an article on remote parking with Mercedes, Jaguar Land Rover & BMW. Remote parking will eventually allow the driver to smart park his car with an App. It is controlled with a smartphone via bluetooth. Now, I’m sure you can still crash the car if you are inside or outside it and I think  it seems to detach us a little more from driving and learning to park and deal with the tough situations ourselves. Yet, after watching this video – I also think that it could be really helpful in some of those really tight spots…

Having recently driven a classic 1966 Austin Healey – I am aware of how much fun it can be to get physical with driving and know that at the present moment in time, the best thing you can do if you don’t feel confident with your parking as a Learner Driver, is to connect with an A Pass 4 U Driving Instructor and they will make sure, your skills rise, to enable you to park in the tightest of spots. You can even ask for a driving lesson specifically on parking.

Ultrasonic parking sensors

Ultrasonic sensors bounce sound waves off obstacles, using the ‘echo’ time to indicate how far away they are. A speaker in the car bleeps – increasingly frantically – as they get closer.

Pros of ultrasonic parking sensors

  • The cheapest form of parking aid – aftermarket systems cost as little as £30; car manufacturers charge £300-£700.
  • >Sensors detect objects even when the car is stationary.

Cons of ultrasonic parking sensors

  • Ultrasonic sensors can miss smaller or narrow objects, and inclines can deflect the sound waves – a steep ramp, for example.
  • They also only detect objects directly behind or in front of the car, and may not work if the sensors are dirty or out of alignment.
  • Fitting usually requires drilling the bumper, but stick-on sensors are available (though unattractive).
  • Ultrasonic parking sensors not be suitable for use with a tow bar.

Electromagnetic parking sensors

Electromagnetic parking sensors create an invisible electromagnetic field around the car’s bumper; any objects entering it trigger a warning sound. Currently used by Audi, Citroën and Fiat, among others.

Pros of electromagnetic parking sensors

  • Suitable for use with tow bars, cycle racks, etc.
  • Electromagnetic sensors are mounted inside the bumper, so there’s no need for drilling.

Cons of electromagnetic parking sensors

  • Electronic parking sensors are more expensive – prices start from £70 (aftermarket). The factory-fitted cost is about the same as ultrasonic sensors, however, at £300 plus.
  • Electromagnetic sensors only detect objects once the car has started moving.

Many new cars now have parking assistant sensors, which let you know when you are getting too close to a car parked behind or in front but first and foremost A Pass 4 U Driving School recommends that you learn how to park properly, before relying on technology to do it for you!