ONE of the most startling automotive innovations that have emerged in the last few years is self-parking. But I'm really not a fan.
I've used it in several different cars now and I've never tried one that doesn't do exactly what it's meant to do.
It is very impressive. But I don't like it because, in the real world, it isn't that useful. The trouble you soon find is that, for it to activate and find a space, ahead of all the witchcraft it gets on with once engaged, you need to be in perfect conditions and you need time. The perfect conditions need to be a very straight line-up of parked cars, usually on the left of you, and the road has to be fairly flat. The biggest problem I find though is waiting for it to do its job. Perhaps I'm being unfair, perhaps it's a confidence thing, but every time I've been in a scenario where I've been able to use it there's been something behind me waiting for me to get on with my manouvre. There's often also someone coming towards me wondering whether I'm going to make a complete cock-up and swing my front end out into his path. All this piles pressure on, and the last thing I want when I'm under pressure is to prat about fiddling with nobs and switches and looking at dashboard displays, waiting for self park to engage. Slowly. It's much quicker to just sling it in reverse and slot the car in to place. I'll probably miss the kerb by a mile, but at least I'm out of everyone's way. It's a fantastic system for showing off to your mates with but that is honestly the only time I've ever found the need to use it. There's been many brilliant parking aids launched in cars, starting with the good old mirror. But assisted parking systems aren't among them.