Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Self-Parking Car

Have you seen that new Lexus that parks itself? Okay, so I know I’m a little behind on this story, and it’s not that I haven’t heard about it until just now. But the thing is, I just saw it on Oprah the other day and it was the first time I’d seen the car in action. I’d seen news stories in passing or read various headlines about the self-parking car, and I thought it sounded pretty cool.

Until I saw it on Oprah.

So Oprah gets in this car and is getting ready to parallel park in her friggin studio. How badass is Oprah that she can fit a whole parking lot in her studio? Yet I digress. So she pulls the car up and stops at just the right spot, then the Lexus Guy shows her this screen on the front dash area. It is displaying a live shot from the back of her car. She is then able to push on the screen and decide exactly where she wants the car to go, she moves it up, she moves it down, the viola, she finds just the right spot to fit the car. And then it is time to let the car work its magic.

She takes her foot off the brake and the car starts reversing. The Lexus Guy periodically yells, “Slowly! Slowly!” and Oprah taps the brake. Then finally the car parks itself and the audience breaths a sigh of relief. Because lets be honest, except for her little cross-country trip with Bestfriend Gayle methinks Oprah doesn’t do a lot of driving. I don’t think I’d want to be sitting directly behind her car, it could be dangerous.

Anyways, again with the digressing, I simply must ask why everyone is so excited about this car. Have you ever parallel parked a car? It’s usually on a busy street. There are usually people coming up behind you very quickly. These people usually aren’t all that interested in waiting patiently while you play a game of Super Mario Brothers in your car while you are trying tell it where to park. (How old am I that I just used Super Mario Brothers as a valid video game reference. At least I didn’t say Pong.)

Do we really need a car that is going to take roughly 12 minutes to park your damn car? Really? Is Lexus trying to get their owners shot? Is that it? Because it takes a very brave person to stop in traffic, push eighteen buttons and Slowly! back their car into a parking spot while every driver around them is flipping them off and wishing desperately that they’d thought to keep a semi-automatic weapon in their car.

I am not a great parallel parker and when I do parallel park I really just try to get as close as I can in the short window of time I have before I get rear-ended by someone driving in my lane who is unaware that I have decided to start driving backwards in the lane. Most of the time this results in at least one or both tires up on the curb as well as several cuss words. But still, I hardly think a self-parking car would make this process any less nerve-wracking.

AND the Lexus also has an option where you can park it in a regular parking space as well, because apparently that is a tremendously difficult task. Did I miss something? Is parking something that a lot of drivers can’t do? And should we really be encouraging these drivers to drive at all by giving them HELP with parking? Really.

If you can’t navigate your car into a parking space then, well, you probably need to go home and investigate all the things you can buy online without ever even leaving your house. These are the kinds of advancements that are actually worthwhile to you. Although something tells me that you might not even know how to turn on your computer.

Here are a couple videos I found on YouTube to show you how the car parks itself. Please note how long the videos are. Should a video about parking a car really be over 10 seconds? Uh no.


tornwordo said...

He's got a wide fat space in that first video. It took two minutes to park in that spot. Ridiculous. Also funny is, "Voila, we have parked." Um, voila?! voila?! There was nothing voila about that procedure, lol.

Oh and don't feel bad. THIS is the first I've heard of it.

Patricia said...

the concept is cool. the commercials about remembering what we used to have to do for ourselves are cool. but in reality, you're right... who wants to be on the road with a moron who can't park? if they can't do that, then i'm pretty sure there are other more important things they can't do. like merge and stay in their own lane. they need to invent a car that puts on it's own turn signals. now that would be some useful technology.

Stephanie said...

I loathe parallel parking. I so want this car cause I am the idiot who takes ten years to parallel park so 10 minutes would be quicker than it takes me.

Chunks said...

I avoid parallel parking, but if I do have to do it, I come up on the spot from behind and drive into it. Not authentic, but I drive a minivan, that's as parallel as I'm gonna get.

My new town? Angle parking along the street. Rocking baby!