Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Parallel Park This!... with a computer. Huh?!

As a "city boy," I love ragging on people who can't parallel park. When I took driver's ed, I first took classes out in the Amherst-Northampton Area, but finished up in the Boston-Somerville Area. So I got the best of both worlds and learned everything from 3-point turns to pulling-in-straight parking to backing-in-straight parking to blind- and sight-side parallel parking--and wheel turns for parking uphill versus downhill and curb versus no-curb. Long-story-short I can, in any fashion, park a car...and a van...and a 40' bus thanks to UMass Transit...and a 26' truck thanks to Camp Trucking--and I can teach people to do all of the above.
So I really enjoyed a 7-early edition report this morning on a new high-end Lexus model which, with initial human setup and accelerator assistance, can computer-steer your car into a *perfectly* parallel-parked position.
WHERE'S THE FUN IN THAT?!
Parallel parking (in case you can't tell) is a source of pride--it screams, "I'm from the city," or "I'm a specially trained driver." I actually had the idea for computerized parallel-parking a few years ago as a way to maximize use of tight spaces for large vehicles, such as in UMass Transit's bus garage, or staging buses in a certain order when they arrive out of order. But your own car--c'mon! To paraphrase the guy reporter, "for that amount of money--because that is one expensive car to be begin with--I'd learn how to parallel park. That feature just ups the price even more!"

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