Americans Steer Away from Autonomous Parking

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% of American drivers are confident in their parallel parking abilities and only 1 in 4 would trust this technology to park their vehicle. Despite this, AAA testing found self-​parking technology outperformed unassisted drivers in 4 key areas, as noted in Americans Steer Away from Autonomous Parking.

‰ÛÏAutonomous features, such as active park assist, are rapidly being introduced into new vehicles, yet American drivers are hesitant to let go of the wheel,‰Û said John Nielsen, AAA‰Ûªs managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. ‰ÛÏWhile 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 buyers.‰Û

In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California‰Ûªs 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 strikes.
  • 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.

‰ÛÏAAA‰Ûªs testing found that self-​parking technology outperformed manual parking in number of curb strikes, number of maneuvers, speed and accuracy,‰Û said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California‰Ûªs Automotive Research Center. ‰ÛÏWhile Americans report feeling confident in their parallel parking abilities, this technology proves there is room for improvement.‰Û

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

‰ÛÏAAA recommends that drivers leave 6–8 inches between the vehicle and the curb when parallel parking,‰Û warned Nielsen. ‰ÛÏWith some systems leaving as little as a half-​inch buffer, AAA urges automakers to increase this distance to prevent vehicle damage.‰Û

Daily commuters might be interested to know they're not as good at parallel parking as they think! According to AudienceSCAN, 23% of U.S. adults commute 20–60 minutes one way daily. Auto dealers could be targeting commuters who want to take the stress of city parking out of their mornings. Try getting to them through television (over-​the-​air, online, mobile or tablet) spots featuring drivers parallel parking themselves versus allowing the self-​parking feature to do its thing. 38% of commuters responded to TV commercials in the past month. Videos and these AAA results could be great ads on blogs for reaching commuters too: they are 33% more likely than average to read blogs every day.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.