• Dec 15, 2006

As a woman, I find the various gadgets making it easier to operate your everyday automobile fascinating. A sensor to check your blind spot for you? Brilliant. Adaptive suspension? Perfect for more sophisticated drivers. But even more fascinating, however, is the subsequent impact upon the "guy things" about operating the automobile.

Manual transmission is a prime example of this. Even with new dual-clutch gearboxes, which have proven themselves to be more effective than manual transmissions, guys are still teaching their sons to drive stick. Why? Not because they envision valet service careers for thier sons, but rather because the guy who can't operate a vehicle with manual transmission will get called out by his peers later in life.

When high-performance automakers like Porsche signed on with dual-clutch gearboxes and the media gave more advanced versions of the technology a thumbs-up, guys seem to be slowly getting over needing to punch the clutch pedal and have something to shift. I have yet to see a guy (or most women, for that matter) who didn't smirk in satisfaction after a particularly impressive parallel parking job.

Bosch has come up with a system that will help us out, but still give us enough responsibility that we'll be smirking afterwards. Introduced on the Citroen C4 Picasso, Bosch's system makes the vehicle "the world's first car to feature integrated parking space measurement," according to the supplier. Drive by at up to 12.5 mph, press a button to initiate the system, and six sensors measure the parallel parking space, alerting the driver to whether the space is too small, "a tight squeeze," or will work just perfectly.

While it doesn't park the car itself like the Lexus LS 460 or the Toyota Prius, Bosch hopes to have that capability online by 2008.

[Source: Engadget]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      This will be great for SUVs, they have so many blindspots, plus ofcourse women need this feature.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Someone who can't judge a parking space as too small / tight squeeze / perfect just by looking at it kind of scares me. Next they'll be sensors to tell you if the light is green.
      • 8 Years Ago
      DSG is a performance-oriented technology and has proven allow the driver to get more our the car than anyone can with a stick. But until I need to measure my drive to work in tenths of seconds, I'll continue to look forward to the pleasure of interacting with my car on a more mechanical level. Dual-clutch sequential shifting just doesn't do it for me. One of our cars has Acura's rendition of Tiptronic - what a gimmick.

      As for parking, parallel or whatever, if one can't do it on one's own, one should surrender one's drivers license out of pure shame. Driving is a privilege, not a right, and a technology that compensates for a most fundamental lack of skill lowers the lowest common denominator for driving skill on our roads...
      • 8 Years Ago
      "As a woman, I find the various gadgets making it easier to operate your everyday automobile fascinating. A sensor to check your blind spot for you?"

      Way to discredit your entire gender. Seriously, is there ANY reason to bring gender into this? What's the difference of this device being used by a guy or girl? Do you just need to tout yours on a regular basis?

      "Manual transmission is a prime example of this. Even with new dual-clutch gearboxes, which have proven themselves to be more effective than manual transmissions, guys are still teaching their sons to drive stick."

      "Proven" to be "more effective"? What the heck does that mean? Some of us LIKE to drive a clutch because it is FUN. You know, driving for more than commuting? And why do you bring gender up here too? Are you trying to say that girls are "above" clutches or what?

      Your personal biases are only thinly veiled by your moronic conclusions. You are easily the worst writer autoblog has ever had.
      • 8 Years Ago
      http://chuck.goolsbee.org/archives/224

      I just (finally) blogged about the last time this came up yesterday. It prompted me to add a "rants" category to my website. These things are the biggest waste of time, talent (the designers, not the drivers!), money, and WEIGHT.

      Cars need to get lighter. Cars need to get simplified. Drivers need to PAY ATTENTION to what they are doing.

      Parking a car is not that difficult. People have been doing it for over 100 years. Develop the skill, or be thinned from the herd.

      grrrr.


      --chuck



      • 8 Years Ago
      Sorry to pile on, but I call shenanigans on the author as well. If you can't parallel park by yourself, get off the road. It's that simple.

      This is an extremely basic skill, has nothing to do with advanced vehicle control abilities, and serves as a pretty good litmus test as to whether a driver sucks or is competent. There's something called "practice" to figure out how big a space needs to be for your car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I agree with #2. Why are they even working on this? Automatic parking? If you are too lazy/scared/ignorant to parallel park you should not be driving in the first place.

      Whats next? Auto pilot? How about we perfect beaming technology (see StarTrek) and kill the auto industry all together!
      • 8 Years Ago

      "Manual transmission is a prime example of this. Even with new dual-clutch gearboxes, which have proven themselves to be more effective than manual transmissions, guys are still teaching their sons to drive stick. Why?"

      Name every car available right now with DSG, and how much it costs. OK then. There is one of two answers.

      "...because the guy who can't operate a vehicle with manual transmission will get called out by his peers later in life."

      Admit it, Erin. More metaphorically and literally, between two equally qualified men, you will date the one who knows how to drive stick. There is your other answer.
      • 8 Years Ago
      10/Mike

      I'm with you. As a female driver, I think real equality is when women stop making excuses for not taking the time to acquire certain driving skills. Drivers in US are bad enough as it is, and propping them up with electronic aids is only a bandaid.

      Proper mirror adjustment and small spot mirrors eliminate blind spots. No electronics needed. Simple, reliable, applicable to all vehicles.

      I have never owned an automatic car in all my life despite living in urban California for the last 15 years. A stickshift is how I remain focused on the task at hand. It gives me pleasure to seamlessly upshift and perfectly match my downshifts even in stop and go traffic. With the purchase of my Audi A3, I had the chance to buy the DSG system. I had driven it many times, and yet I ordered my car with a stickshift because the DSG left me feeling left out of the process. Lighter, cheaper, and easier to maintain over the long run, a stickshift is the only way for me. Somebody who is not coordinated or has a disability is another matter of course.

      If somebody can't park, they they shouldn't drive. That's like flying an airplane without knowing how to land it. Pro pilots know how to land, even if the electronics take care of most things for them most of the time. Just in case. Just because we see morons who play bumper cars, doesn't mean we shouldn't hold ourselves as car enthusiasts to higher standards. What happens when the driver ends up in a car without the parking feature? We get a bunch of ninnies like the ones now who can only drive automatics and are helpless when faced with a stickshift car.

      Erin, rather than make us women look silly, could you just report on stuff without bringing gender into it? If you have an opinion, state it - without the female fluff aspect. If you want to work the female angle with credibility, just follow Jean Lindamood's articles over the years in Automobile magazine. I've worked in the auto industry for a very long time, and the hardest thing to overcome has been gender bias. Please don't perpetuate it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Verdegrrl, marry me.

      Ok no, not really, but I 100% agree with everything you just said. I know far too many women who never try to improve their driving/parking just because of the stereotype that "women can't drive/park". On the other hand, I know several women drivers who could run circles around some of the more "macho" drivers I know.

      Personally, I think this sensor is a complete waste of time. How long does it take to measure the parking spot? If it's any more than about 2 seconds, the drivers behind you in busy traffic are going to be pretty pissed off at waiting. A little bit of depth perception and knowing how large your car is goes a long way. It really should not take you more than ~10 seconds to parallel park from start to finish, and you shouldn't have to pull up next to a spot and stop in order to figure out if you're going to fit in it. You should be able to judge that before you even pull up next to it.

      And as for the transmission choice, I drive a manual because it's FUN. I am completely aware that the new, modern DSG/SMG type systems are faster and sometimes more efficient. However, I will happily give up a few fractions of a second in 0-60 times for the total control and fun factor a true manual provides. I am not a professional racer, so it is all about fun for me, not about shaving off that extra 0.3 seconds.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If your in an area where parallel parking happens frequently, spend some time and learn how to do it well.

      If you can't figure out something as easy as will my car fit, it doesn't seem to likely you will be able to figure out how to make it fit even if the computer says it will.

      There comes a point where taking the decision process out in no longer a help but a hinderance. This looks to me to be one of those cases.