The suppliers behind the new automated self-parking system in the redesigned 2018 Nissan Leaf already have some big improvements in the pipeline, including being able to park a car by remote control from outside the vehicle using a smartphone app.
The suppliers are Clarion Co. Ltd. , which supplies the Leaf's automatic parking electronic control unit, and Hitachi Automotive Systems, which provides the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems ECU for the same vehicle, according to Kenichiro Tsukahara, a spokesman for Hitachi Automotive.
Their message: They're only beginning.
With the 2018 Leaf that was introduced in September, Nissan added a technology wrinkle with what it calls ProPilot Park, part of an optional suite of features called ProPilot Assist that includes intelligent cruise control.
Other brands offer parking-assist features that can handle parallel parking, with the driver working the brakes and the shifter. But in addition to parallel parking, ProPilot Park also works for head-in or back-in parking spots, plus angled spaces. To do so, ProPilot Park works the accelerator, brakes, steering wheel, gearshift and parking brake.
Newer parking systems such as the Nissan Leaf's take into account visual input from external cameras, as well as ultrasonic "sonar" sensors. Park-assist features using bumper- mounted ultrasonic sensors started appearing in the mid-2000s.
Adding visual input improves the vehicle's ability to distinguish different types of parking spaces and avoid "false positives" such as the end of someone's driveway. Using ultrasonic input alone, a gap in a line of parked cars could look like an available parking space instead of a driveway.