Americans Steer Away from Autonomous Parking

AAA finds self-parking technology outperforms drivers but lacks
consumers’ trust

AURORA, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As automakers increasingly integrate self-parking features into new
vehicles, Americans say they are not ready to give up control. According
to a new survey from AAA, nearly 80 percent of American drivers are
confident in their parallel parking abilities and only one-in-four would
trust this technology to park their vehicle. Despite this, AAA testing
found self-parking technology outperformed unassisted drivers in four
key areas.

“Autonomous features, such as active park assist, are rapidly being
introduced into new vehicles, yet American drivers are hesitant to let
go of the wheel,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of
Automotive Engineering and Repair. “While the vast majority of Americans
say they would not trust self-parking technology, AAA found these
features performed well in tests and warrants consideration of new car

In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s
Automotive Research Center, AAA tested self-parking features on five
vehicles: a 2015 Lincoln MKC, a 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML400 4Matic, a 2015
Cadillac CTS-V Sport, a 2015 BMW i3 and a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Limited.

Compared to drivers that manually parallel parked with the aid of a
standard back-up camera, AAA found:

  • Drivers using self-parking systems experienced 81 percent fewer curb
  • Self-parking systems parallel parked the vehicle using 47 percent
    fewer maneuvers, with some systems completing the task in as little as
    one maneuver.
  • Self-parking systems were able to park a vehicle 10 percent faster.
  • Self-parking systems were able to park 37 percent closer to the curb.

“AAA’s testing found that self-parking technology outperformed manual
parking in number of curb strikes, number of maneuvers, speed and
accuracy,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of
Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “While Americans
report feeling confident in their parallel parking abilities, this
technology proves there is room for improvement.”

While the tested self-parking systems performed well and parked quicker
and more accurately than an unassisted driver, the technology is not
without flaws. AAA found that some systems parked the vehicles
exceedingly close to the curb, leaving wheels and tires vulnerable to
scratches and costly repairs.

“AAA recommends that drivers leave six-to-eight inches between the
vehicle and the curb when parallel parking,” warned Nielsen. “With some
systems leaving as little as a half-inch buffer, AAA urges automakers to
increase this distance to prevent vehicle damage.”

To learn more about AAA’s vehicle testing series, designed to educate
and inform AAA members, the automotive industry and the general public,

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA
provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial
and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the
not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for
the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on
the Internet at

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Beth Mosher, 630-328-7234