Self-Parking Denial - 2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test
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2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test

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2014 BMW i3: Self-Parking Denial

by Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor on October 6, 2015

2014 BMW i3

Call them delusional, but most people think they're good at parallel parking. So good, in fact, that they say they don't need help from autonomous parking systems in cars, such as the one in our 2014 BMW i3, thank you very much.

Those are the findings of a new survey by AAA. According to the auto club, nearly 80 percent of American drivers "are confident in their parallel parking abilities." And just one in four people would trust the technology to park their cars.

AAA's testing, however, found that tech outperformed unassisted drivers in four areas: curb strikes, the number of maneuvers needed, speed and accuracy. AAA tested the 2015 Lincoln MKC, 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML400 4Matic, 2015 Cadillac CTS-V Sport, 2015 Jeep Cherokee Limited and a 2015 BMW i3. In the AAA test, humans were allowed to use a back-up camera, but that was the only tech permitted.

It's clear that we are just not up to the task unaided, people.

Cars using the autonomous systems experienced 81 percent fewer curb strikes and maneuvered into place with 47 percent fewer moves, with some systems completing the task in as little as one maneuver, AAA reports. Self-parking systems were able to park a vehicle 10 percent faster and 37 percent closer to the curb.

In case you haven't seen it, here's a video of our car going through its self-parking paces.

AAA did have one criticism of the self-parking systems: They get the cars too close to the curb, with some leaving as little as a half-inch buffer. That leaves wheels and tires "vulnerable to scratches and costly repairs," as some of us know all too well.

AAA recommends that drivers leave 6 to 8 inches between the car and the curb when parking. The club urged automakers to tweak their systems to leave more distance between curb and wheel.

So in the mankind vs. machine parallel-parking face-off, whom do you trust more: yourself or your autonomous vehicular overlord?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor

  • Full Review
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