Around this time of year, when shopping mall parking lots are full to capacity, and sometimes beyond it, is the time when the driving world shows its ugly side — increased dings and dents.
Mall parking spots aren’t the most spacious of spots in which to put even a compact car, and then you factor in the human element of misjudging gaps, hitting the wrong pedals, or simply trying to outrush another driver to a vacating spot. Statistics show that parking manoeuvres account for roughly 30% of vehicle damage claims.
A recent Toyota survey has shown that parking assist technologies, such as its own Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS), result in a significant reduction in low speed mishaps such as those in parking lots or in crawl-along bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The survey was conducted over 18 months on three Toyota models equipped with ICS — the Prius, and domestic-market Alphard and Vellfire mini MPVs — using data from some 2,500 incidents. The vehicles were chosen because they have the ICS technology that can be enhanced with additional sensors and more sensitive detection range.
It found that after the technology was added to the vehicles, incidents involving pedal misapplication dropped by 70%, while those involving damage caused while reversing dropped by 40%.
ICS uses sonar to detect clearance when reversing into a spot or moving out of one, and automatically brakes the car if it is about to reverse into something or steers it away from something it is in danger of side-swiping. It is especially helpful during sudden start situations, when the driver accidentally steps on the wrong pedal.