Enhanced Active Park Assist Does Parallel and
Think you got parking skills? Ford might have you beat with its enhanced active parking assist feature, which is now available with the 2015 Ford Edge and 2015 Explorer. The system uses the crossover’s exterior cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors to assist with both parallel and perpendicular parking.
Parallel parking is a skill that takes a lot of practice to master. Sometimes finding an available parking space in busy urban areas can be a challenge, and then squeezing into tight spaces adds to that challenge. Thankfully, rear view camera systems are helpful with backing up those last few inches without tapping the bumper behind you. Active parking assist in Ford and Lincoln vehicles isn’t new, but it has been improved to include active park assist for perpendicular parking, as well as parallel parking.
The enhanced version of park assist isn’t fully automatic and requires some action from the driver. Once it is engaged and finds a space large enough, the system literally maneuvers the Edge into the parking space while the driver controls the braking and shifting part of the parking exercise.
When the driver is slowly prowling for a parking space, the first step is to activate the feature by pushing a button on the dash. Next, pull up slowly forward until a suitable parking space is identified by the system and continue to creep forward until the car signals the driver to stop. Now the car is lined up perfectly for parallel parking and the driver will be prompted to put the car into reverse. Once in reverse, the car will steer into the space and park. An important note is that the driver is in control of the brake so he or she can determine how fast the car moves into the parking spot and for stopping the car completely after parking is done.
Another added benefit: no more curb rash to the wheels because of the enhanced park assist system’s accuracy. The engineers designed the system with the goal of parking within 15 centimeters (5.9 inches) of the curb–a lot closer than I can consistently park. In practice the Active Park Assist parks within a few inches of the curb without damaging the sidewalls or edges of the rim.
To use the active park assist feature for backing into a space and parking at a perpendicular angle, press the park assist button twice. Once enabled, slowly drive by the parking space so the system can identify it, stop, then follow the prompts to reverse and control the speed with the brake. Move the gear selector into Park after the car is nestled snugly in its parking spot.
Using the active park assist in the beginning may require a leap of faith and learning how the system operates. But it only takes a few uses until using the feature becomes second-nature and the technique of slowly driving past a parking spot and trusting the car becomes second easier. [Ford plans to have its active parking assist available in other models real soon]
The first generation of Active Park Exist is currently available in the following Ford and Lincoln vehicles. As these models get updated, expect them to receive the enhanced version of Active Park Assist that also does perpendicular parking.
- Ford Focus
- Ford Fusion
- Ford C-Max
- Ford Taurus
- Ford Escape
- Ford Flex
- Ford F-150
- Lincoln MKC
- Lincoln MKZ
- Lincoln MKS
- Lincoln MKT