When purchasing a new vehicle what do you look for? Your criteria may contain everything from a price range and safety rating to a leather interior or extra cup holder. A new study released by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Ford Motors may motivate you to add another item to your vehicle checklist: parking assistant program.

A recent technology appearing in a number of new vehicles underwent a study to determine if the parking assistance has an effect on drivers' stress levels. This proved to be a study important to many motorists as a Harris Interactive study revealed approximately 31% of drivers avoid parallel parking if at all possible.

The study observed 42 drivers' stress levels with EKG monitors while parallel parking and backing into a tight-fitting parking spaces. As revealed by the study, these sometimes difficult parking maneuvers exerted less stress on the driver while using an automatic parking-assist system.

Drivers' average heart rate decreased from 83 beats per minute when manually parking to 71 beats per minute while using Ford's Active Park Assist technology. The average 12 beat per minute drop in drivers' heart rate accompanied a 30% decrease in drivers' perceptions of their own stress levels while using the assistant.

The parking assistant program utilizes sonar to determine if the vehicle will fit in the parking space and help to guide it into the spot. While parking the driver controls breaks and thrust as the computer turns the vehicle. For more information on the MIT study please visit the MIT Release at: MIT News.


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