As someone who, generally speaking, will do almost anything to avoid parking a car in a crowded area for fear of looking like a fool, I jumped at a recent opportunity to try out the Automatic Parking Assist feature in the 2015 Cadillac CTS. For those that are unfamiliar, I’ll let Cadillac explain this nifty little piece of tech:
‘The CTS Sedan offers Automatic Parking Assist, which enables the car to park itself in parallel and – new for 2015 – perpendicular spaces. It uses ultrasonic sensors to locate a suitable space and maneuver the car into the space, with the driver only required to select the gear and apply the accelerator and brake pedals. Ultrasonic rear park assist is standard.’
Yeah, the CTS uses the same ultrasonic frequencies as bats and porpoises to safely guide you into the perfect parking space. How awesome is that?! I won’t go so far as to call it the Batmobile, but folks, I am sorely tempted.
As fascinating as this feature is, actually using it will definitely require some getting used to. It entails something of a leap of faith to turn full steering control of a moving vehicle over to an on-board computer, and watching the wheel spin completely unaided is a pretty surreal experience. It’s honestly straight out of a science fiction movie, and once you relax a little and enjoy it for what it is, it’s very, very satisfying. Having control of the accelerator and brakes helps to ease the transition since you have final say over what the vehicle is doing – and the built-in backup camera adds another layer of security.
One thing worth noting is that since Park Assist is powered by ultrasonics, the space that you are attempting to park in must be flanked by other vehicles otherwise the feature won’t engage. While this is somewhat frustrating, Park Assist is at its best in crowded lots and parking ramps where the necessary conditions abound.
The video below captures my experience with the CTS pretty well, but to really get a feel for how mind-bendingly cool this feature is I highly recommend getting behind the wheel and trying it out for yourself. The future is here, everyone.