I demonstrated Ford’s Active Park Assist for my neighbour, using a 2013 Flex crossover. I actually put Peter in the driver’s seat and had him cruise the street until the system alerted him to a parking space of sufficient size.
I then had Peter follow the simple instructions that are displayed on the navigation screen as the Flex cut the wheels right and left, backing into the spot with surgical precision. Peter was absolutely amazed at the accuracy of the system and the simplicity of its use.
After a few gleeful exclamations, a pall came over him as he lowered his voice and uttered, “This is bad for business.” I countered with a differing opinion, believing that active park assist programs are the next great step toward driverless cars.
Peter: “no… bad for my business!”
I should tell you that Peter’s a registered massage therapist, owning a highly successful clinic. The way he sees it, if people no longer have to twist and contort in order to parallel park, they’re less likely to seek massage therapy.
While Peter’s comments were obviously made in jest, they illuminated a valid point. Aged drivers often find it difficult to adequately twist torso and neck to see where they’re reversing. And there have certainly been times when back pain has interfered with my ability to do so.
A vehicle that can park itself could be of great benefit to seniors and those with limited mobility, such as me after a day of yard work. I’m sure that Ford won’t put Peter on the street, I’m also sure that there will come a day when Peter will clamor for an active park system. We’re all getting older, good thing that technology is getting wiser.