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Lexus parks for you

Lexus is debuting its new intelligent park assist system at the Australian International Motor Show, with demonstrations showing how the car can take control and park itself.

It is the first time the system is available on a production vehicle in Australia, although the technology has previously been seen overseas in a Toyota Prius.

In Australia, the system is currently standard on the recently released Lexus LS460 and it will also be a feature on the soon-to-be-released hybrid, the LS600hL.

But saving face doesn't come cheap.

The new hybrid will carry around a $250,000 price tag, which also includes reclining ottoman seats in the rear.

And the LS460 is already available for about $185,000.

The system uses a rear camera and ultrasonic sensors to identify parking spaces; then calculates the correct steering angle to guide you into the chosen spot.

Steering is controlled automatically and all the driver needs to worry about is controlling speed by using the brake.

Lexus Australia advertising and PR manager Matt Tannock said; one of the key benefits of the self-parking system is customers don't have to worry about damaging their car while parking.

And while it is currently only available in the two models, Mr Tannock said customer demand will determine if it becomes an industry standard and even spreads to other manufacturers.

“The whole idea of taking your hands off the wheel and reverse parking a vehicle would be understandably different from any normal driving experience,” he said.

“Once customers observe the IPA and understand how it can benefit them, there is no doubt demand for such technology will become standard in the future.”

And while there is a lot of technology that can be found at the Motor Show in the 500 different models on display, this is the only one where you can see it in action, with demonstrations held every hour for the duration of the show.

And it has been attracting plenty of curious onlookers during the week, although some are a little cynical.

Fay Sheeley from Victoria was skeptical, saying that if you can not back your vehicle car into a parking spot, you really should not have your licence.

Monique Selton, who does the parking demonstrations at the Motor Show for Lexus, said the system was easy to use and very practical.

The LS600hL in which the parking technology features, is the world's first petrol-electric V8 hybrid and equals a V12 in performance.

And it does so without costing a fortune at the pump. It has the fuel economy of a medium-sized car and its claimed consumption is just 9.3-litres per 100km. The new intelligent park assist technology is on display in the LS600hL at the Lexus stand.

Tonight the show focus swings to fashion with the first of three nights of parades. Designer Ruby Smallbone will showing a collection at the Peugeot stand from 6.30pm.

The Australian International Motor Show is on until 21 October 2007.


How it works

The driver slowly drives past an intended parking space

  • The sonar sensors detect the available space before stopping just beyond the space.
  • Driver shifts into reverse gear and selects the parallel parking option.
  • It calculates both the parking trajectory and required steering angle, while a view of the target car park is projected on to the centre console's touch-screen.
  • The driver then activates the system by releasing the brake pedal and the car begins reversing at a slow speed.
  • The system monitors vehicle speed and automatically controls the electric power steering to guide the vehicle into the parking spot.
  • It automatically controls the steering but the driver controls the speed and stopping of the vehicle using the brake pedal.


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