Mr. Wilmote Extra Credit Essay
Auto Braking and Auto Parking Systems
Carmakers are starting to bring more and more self-parking cars to market because they sense the consumer demand for it. Parallel parking has always been the worst part of your driver’s test, and it's something we all have to do at some point. If you live in a large city, you have to parallel park every day so any way to remove the stress and difficulty would have a big appeal with drivers. In theory, self-parking cars can help to solve some of the parking and traffic problems in busy areas. I think it would be fair to say that fitting a car in a parking can be up to the skill of the driver. Some people can attempt to parallel park for what seems like an hour, disrupting traffic and making those waiting behind them angry. A self-parking car can fit into smaller spaces than most drivers can and this makes it easier for people to find parking spaces. The same number of cars would be able to take up fewer spaces. Finally, bad parallel parking leads to a lot of minor dents and scratches. Self-parking technology could prevent many of these minor accidents and saving the drivers the money to fix them.
Self-parking cars currently on the market are not completely automatic, but they do make parallel parking much easier. The driver still controls the speed of the vehicle by pressing and releasing the brake pedal. Once the process begins, the on-board computer system take over the steering wheel. Different self-parking systems have different ways of sensing the objects around the car. Some have sensors around the front and rear bumpers, which act as both transmitters and receivers. These sensors transmit signals, which bounce off objects around the car and reflect back to them. The car's computer then uses the amount of time that it takes those signals to return to calculate the location of the objects. Others systems have cameras mounted onto the bumpers or use radar to detect objects. The end result is the same - the car detects the other parked cars, the size of the parking space and the distance to the curb, then steers it into the space.
The same technology used in self-parking cars can be used for collision avoidance systems and ultimately, the self-driving cars that have been in the news lately. Automakers have again sensed a consumer need and have incorporated automatic braking systems in many of their new cars. There are enough cars equipped with automatic braking systems that the insurance industry safety tester is issuing report cards on them. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is now performing non-crash tests and rating the increasingly available front-crash avoidance systems. The latest score card, from a survey completed in late 2012 was for large and midsize vehicles. Of 24 cars tested, eight got the highest rating of “superior” by automatically stopping the cars in time to prevent crashes at both 12 mph and 25 mph. The others were rated "advanced" or "basic" for their front-crash prevention. The lowest score — basic — was given to cars with auto-braking systems that don't fully stop the cars in time, but at least lessen the impact.
Now more than 100 vehicle models now have or offer systems that are designed to stop the car when a crash is about to happen, even if the driver's foot isn't on the brake pedal. The systems use a variety of cameras, radars and lasers to compute when a car is getting too close, too fast, to a car ahead. Usually, auto-brake systems warn the driver with a flashing light or alarm, and then hit the brakes if the driver doesn't react. Some systems only slow the car to minimize the crash impact while some more expensive systems will completely stop the car at low speeds. Understandably, these receive the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest ratings. Being…