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Archive for March, 2007

Park like Spock

Jane Galt of Asymmetrical Information is wondering who’s in the market for that new self-parking Lexus. The market? Probably upscale professionals who (1) like gadgets, (2) don’t live in cities, (3) somewhat reluctantly work in cities, but regard parallel parking as that stupid part of the test they almost failed when they got their license 25 years ago and haven’t bothered with since.

The Lexus is kind of a gimmick, and it really doesn’t seem to work that well in the real world. Many cars have anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic suspension control and other things to help the driver. The parallel parking feature is an important milestone, however, in that it’s the first time a production car actually performs a basic driving task without the driver in control.

My prediction is that within 10 years, new cars will routinely go park themselves in a standard lot or multilevel garage, and then come pick you up when called. Parking your own car will be regarded by most drivers like changing the oil is today.

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