By James R. Healey, USA Today and Kelsey Mays, Cars.com
The simple act of parking your car is the focus of extraordinary technology. Backup cameras and
warning sensors have become old hat. Surround-view cameras are slowly arriving, and the big step is
cars that parallel-park themselves.
Well, sort of; they find a parking spot that's big enough and they do the wheel work. You still must
operate the accelerator and brake pedals to be sure you get out of the traffic flow quickly and then
don't whack the parked car ahead of or behind you.
Lexus introduced auto-parking in the U.S. on its 2007 LS 460 full-size sedan. That system had a
high gee-whiz factor, but was cumbersome to use. It's gone now — discontinued after the 2012
model. Almost nobody bought it, so Lexus "removed that option," spokesman Bill Kwong said.
Though the luxury brand has axed auto-parking, mainstream Toyota still sells the feature as a Prius
v option. It's also available as a stand-alone feature ($395) on the $24,000 Ford Focus Titanium.
Auto-parking no longer is strictly a luxury item, though that's where it's mainly found.
Auto-parking systems become mainstream
Now that these systems are working themselves into the mainstream, USA Today and Cars.com wanted to
find out if today's parking systems work better than the original Lexus setup, and thus are more likely
to become popular.