Admit it, you've embarrassed yourself at some point trying to parallel park. It's like they say about drivers at Indianapolis: There are those who have hit the wall, and those who will. The same principle applies when it comes to parallel parking. Like an increasing number of automakers, Ford is moving beyond the realm of auto-dip side mirrors and into the realm of auto parking systems. The Blue Oval's new Active Park Assist will initially be available on the Lincoln MKS and MKT (about which you'll hear much more on January 12) next summer.
The system takes advantage of the ultrasonic sensors now mounted on the corners of many vehicles (used for backup warning, blind spot detection and other functions), and combines them with a new electric power assisted steering setup. The system can manipulate the steering automatically and the sensors detect where the vehicle is relative to other vehicles. It starts off by using the sensors to measure the distance between cars to determine if there is enough space, and then it operates the steering, instructing the driver when to shift into Drive or Reverse and press the gas or brake. Ford claims the system works much more reliably than the camera-based system used by Lexus. We had no luck with the Lexus system, so we'll be the judge of how well Ford's setup works. Follow the jump to read Ford's official press release.