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New devices to help you park in tight spaces

November 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A small, user-friendly device could make your time behind the wheel a little more pleasant.Everyone seems to be fighting for the same tiny parking space this time of year, but technology is helping out to make it easier. Some new Fords and Lincolns have an option called, automatic park assist.

It's not the first on the market, but so far it's the most user-friendly.

"It'll measure, using the front and rear sonar installed to our right. If it measures it and sees that we can fit, it will tell us," describes Jason Camp of the Ford Motor Company.

And the next thing you know, you've parallel parked perfectly. To the parking-challenged, it's probably worth its $550 price.

Most of us have been in a situation where we're trying to back out of a parking space and it's pretty tight. You're in a garage or a parking lot and you don't know if a car is coming. That's where cross traffic alert helps out.

It uses the same sensors as the automatic park assist. No more getting honked at by that impatient other driver moving down the lane. You'll know when they're approaching.

Cameras are finding their way into more vehicles for less money. The new Chevrolet Equinox offers this one as a stand-alone $320 option. It places the image right in the rear-view mirror.

You can get this system on some new BMW models. In addition to the rear camera, there's one in each side mirror. The three images are combined to let you see exactly how you're lining up into a space.

You might still have to fight for that last parking space on the street or at the mall, but at least getting your car into it can be one less hassle.


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