Technology
December 3, 2015

Will Self-Parking Cars Ease Traffic?

Words by Mags Ocampo

Audi certainly thinks so and is intent to develop the first prototype to a fully automated parking network.

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 12.42.04 PM

Photo originally appeared in Wired, provided by Audi.

 

If daily drives and commutes around the Metro haven’t proven it enough, the sudden standstill along EDSA and other main roads a few months back – dubbed as “carmageddon,” if that helps – has shown us just how bad traffic can get in Manila. With highways that seem to constantly double as parking lots, one can’t help but admit that Metro Manila needs help. If all goes according to plan, Audi might just have a solution for us in less than two decades.

In a Wired article, the German car company revealed that it is currently working on a line of cars that  function on a self-parking system. Now, that might sound like an unnecessary luxury but its potential to help lessen the intensity of traffic around the city is worth considering.

Audi is starting the program in a suburban area in Boston under its Urban Future Initiative. Though they first demonstrated the technology at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show in a 2013 video, their larger plan of action only emerged late last month. By 2018, Audi plans to commence the first phase of its operations by sending out a small fleet of self-parking cars and building a single garage designed specifically for such cars. The automaker plans on starting phase two by 2020 – phase two being the spread of self-parking cars in Boston. If all goes well, the cars and special garages should be on the market and ready for the world by 2030.

Imagine not having to go in circles over and over again looking for a parking spot near wherever it is you have to be, and thus sparing the world of unnecessary fossil fuel emissions. Imagine wider roads thanks to less cars – or, hopefully, absolutely no cars – parked along busy streets. Imagine all the extra space available when cars are parked no more than four inches apart from each other because there are no worries about people fitting in between them. Imagine all the possible advantages of a self-parking car other than saving yourself anywhere between ten minutes to an hour just to find a spot.

Ambitious? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely. It’s time for technology to adapt to the mess we’ve made (with the help of past technological developments). Christian Gärtner, one of the people working on the project put it quite aptly in the Wired piece: “The car shaped the city in the 20th century, and in the 21st century the city will shape the car.” We can’t wait to see how this goes.

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