Is Parking Assistance a Worthwhile Investment?


Definition of Parking Assistance

What are parking assistance devices available on the market?

Choosing the right parking assistance equipment

Is parking assistance a worthwhile investment?

Nothing is more annoying than the traces left by small shocks during parking maneuvers; would parking assistance, with its “beep-beeps” or its vision on screen, be the solution? Let’s take a closer look at this equipment and its strong points.

Definition of parking assistance

A parking aid is a set of audible and visual devices that make parking safer.

Unlike “autonomous parking,” where the maneuver is performed by the car without the driver’s intervention, the driver remains in control of the vehicle.

What are the parking assistance devices on the market?

Several complementary or alternative technologies are used for parking assistance.

Sound assistance

Sensors located in the front and rear shields measure, by ultrasound or electromagnetic principle, the distance to the obstacle; from a certain value (on average 1.5 m); beeps are emitted, their frequency increase continuous sound to guide the driver in his maneuver.

Note: the bumpers are the front and rear thermoplastic protections (commonly called “bumpers”), protecting the bodywork from small impacts and absorbing kinetic energy to preserve the passenger compartment during road accidents.

This aid is activated by engaging reverse gear.

Visual aid

Visual aid is available in more or less elaborate levels:

– Associated with sensors and sound alert, it is presented in the form of a bar graph, the number of rods of which decreases or increases as the obstacle approaches.

– Another option is adding a camera at the rear of the vehicle, transmitting images of the rear environment on a screen in the driver’s cab.

– An even more sophisticated version with integrated cameras and sensors provides an augmented reality image, for example, allowing an overall view of the vehicle from above. The free areas around the car are displayed on the screen.

Original equipment

With the purchase of a new vehicle, parking assistance is most often offered as an option, at varying sophistication levels.

Depending on whether the parking assistance is offered alone as a simple audible alarm or as part of a package (audible alarm + camera), the equivalent average price is in the range of $150 to $350.

Is it possible to adapt a parking assistance device?

It is easy to get aftermarket equipment: Internet retailers are legion (auto parts specialists, discount sites…).

All configurations are possible.

The following devices are available for the audible warning:

– Based on the sensors’ principle integrated into the shields, they are available in wired version (from $50), electromagnetic signal or ultrasonic.

– The wireless version (simpler to install) is available for $70.

Concerning visual warning, there are also different types of equipment:

– The system with sensors and bar graphs is available between $60 and $150.

– The more elaborate equipment with a rearview camera alone or with sensors indicating the remaining distance to the screen is more expensive, from $70 to $300 depending on the configuration.

Choosing the right parking assistance equipment

The choice criteria are numerous. The options selected will differ according to the budget, the efficiency of the devices, the use that one wishes to make, and the equipment’s quality.

Comfort of use

While the basic audible equipment is excellent, camera systems offer a definite plus by directly visualizing the available space at the vehicle’s rear. It will then be necessary to choose a camera “wide-angle” (150 °) and effective at night or in low light (you can select a camera equipped with infrared LEDs).

Type of use

A camera can be advantageous for vehicles without a rearview (vans, RVs, or towing a trailer). Besides, the camera can act as a rearview mirror during everyday driving.

Quality of equipment

It is necessary to ensure the equipment’s efficiency (sound quality and image quality during day and night) and its homologation (consult independent comparisons and user forums before purchase).

Is parking assistance a profitable investment?

Whether for a new vehicle or as a retrofit, parking assistance is a real plus for the car’s integrity and people’s bodily integrity (pedestrians, cyclists, etc.) who could be masked by a blind spot at the rear of the vehicle.

The only disadvantage resulting from parking assistance would be the addiction to this system: beware of possible damage if you have to drive an unequipped vehicle later on!

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