• Volvo Autonomous Parking can find spots, park
  • System also can summon a car to its driver
  • May come as early as late 2014

A new technology from Volvo may soon allow cars to park themselves. Volvo recently announced it's working on an automatic parking system dubbed Autonomous Parking, which uses sensors to park a vehicle without driver input.

But that's not all Autonomous Parking does. Volvo says the system can also hunt for a spot on its own, taking much of the guesswork out of finding a place to park. And it can even find its way back to the driver when summoned.

"Autonomous Parking is a concept technology that relieves the driver of the time-consuming task of finding a vacant parking space," said Thomas Broberg, Volvo's senior safety adviser. "The driver just drops the vehicle off at the entrance to the car park and picks it up in the same place later."

Volvo's only problem is the system can only be used in parking garages with embedded transmitters. You cannot use it in your supermarket parking lot or the garage at your office. But several garages already use transmitters, and more could be developed if there's demand for systems such as Autonomous Parking.

For some shoppers, automatic parking is nothing new. Many cars already offer features that can parallel park by themselves. But Volvo's system takes that technology much further by automating perpendicular parking and even the act of finding a parking space itself.

While Volvo hasn't announced when the technology will reach dealers, the automaker said its next XC90 will include the feature. As the XC90 is due out late next year, it's likely that model will be the first Volvo to offer the system.

What it means to you: Volvo's Autonomous Parking system could eliminate the hassle of finding a space, trying to fit inside it and even driving through dark parking garages.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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