;I barely ever watch TV, but somehow even I have seen the commercial of the new Lexus LS parking itself.; But how does it work in the real world?
I’ll admit that Lexus’ new commercial got my attention – if you haven’t seen it, it shows various people reminiscing about the “old days” – before remote controls, iPods, and all the other gadgets that we take for granted.; It implies that one day, we’ll be explaining to our grandkids that we actually used to have to park our own cars.
The commercial then shows the 2007 Lexus LS460 back smoothly and quickly into a parking space.; It’s astonishing to watch – and has raised a lot of attention.; So much so, that everywhere we went in our pre-production LS460L, people asked if it really could park itself.
So we tried it.; A few of us piled into the comfortable, spacious, sumptuous LS, and went to go make it park itself repeatedly.; Unfortunately, the only thing it did repeatedly was aggravate us.
I’m not being fair.; Let me first start out by saying that this new technology is brilliant.; And it does work.; But like many new technologies, it works well only under a certain, limited set of conditions.; The real world unfortunately does not exist only in those limited conditions.; We finally got the system to parallel park after more than ten aborted, failed attempts.; And we never were able to get the big Lexus to back into a perpendicular spot by itself.
We were, however, able to fool it into trying to parallel park into a three-foot-long opening between two other cars.; As you may know, the LS460L is quite a bit longer than three feet.; Also, it once tried to park itself on top of a Nissan Quest minivan.; On many occasions, it refused to move at all.; We never actually hit anything, but that's only because we were paying such close attention.
If you touch the accelerator pedal at all during its self-park progress, it aborts.; This is particularly frustrating if you’re on any sort of minor grade – or if one of your wheels has rolled up against a pinecone.; The LS won’t move.; Guidance cancelled.
Likewise if you go too fast.; It’s your job as the driver to modulate the speed of the car with the brake pedal.; Fully off the pedal is too fast.; If you don’t brake the car quickly enough back to an acceptable speed, it aborts, stops steering, and you’re on your own.; Guidance cancelled.
The Lexus LS460 will park itself.; But only if conditions are perfect.; And even when it does work perfectly, it’s still far, far slower than even my octogenarian grandmother would park. Worst of all, the interface is difficult enough to use that I’m sure most people would have an easier time parking the Lexus themselves than just programming the function to do the job itself.
The video you’ll see below is meant to be amusing.; We were being our silly selves.; But what you see is what actually happened.; We really were trying to get the Lexus to park itself.; And it really didn't work.
I’m all for technology, but I don’t think this one is ripe for prime time yet.; Kudos to Lexus for trying, but in the meantime, I’ll just park myself.; It’s a lot faster.