Cars that park themselves
Until 2016, auto-parking cars meant those that sized up a space, informed the driver, then did all the steering while telling the driver to go, stop and which gear to select. However, cutting edge technology under development by the premium brands in particular moves towards a time of completely autonomous parking cars. Here are a few worthy of consideration.
The A8 is the newest car on our list, fresh from its dramatic reveal in Barcelona. There, Audi unveiled details of the Audi AI remote parking pilot and garage pilot. These functions, initiated by the driver from the myAudi smartphone app, do not need the driver to be in the car, though they must keep an eye on things.
BMW 7 Series
Though the BMW Remote Control Parking function is also now available in the 5 Series, it began life in the 7. It requires the optional Display Key (itself as large as a smartphone) and can only move the car forward or back in a straight line by about 10 metres when the driver is not in the car. However, it is incredibly useful to get the car out of a tight spot when, for example, someone else has parked so close to the car you can't easily get in.
Mercedes usually reserves its latest tech for the S-Class flagship, but the E-Class is so important to its bottom line that it endowed its current generation with everything it had when it was first launched. That included the option of Remote Parking Pilot. It uses a smartphone app, but you need to be close to the car to operate it. It has more functionality than the BMW one, though.
Many cars come with a similar system to Park Assist in Jaguar's F-Pace. In this case, the system looks for a space that is at least 20 per cent longer than the car before asking the driver to stop, let go of the steering wheel and select reverse. If it needs to adjust, it will ask the driver to select the appropriate gear. It's a little eerie sitting in a car while the steering wheel turns itself quickly and smoothly from one side to the other, but it's highly effective. Note that the driver must be in the driver's seat for this one!