Lexus Virtual Valet

By: Joe Ratzkin

Parking particularly parallel parking is one of the most difficult to accomplish even for professional drivers. Toyota through its luxury division Lexus the producer of high quality is promising a technology that will enable cars to park themselves. Impossible? Well trust Toyota to make the impossible possible with the new $75,000 Lexus LS you can have a car that car virtually park itself.

Consumer Reports has sent its auto experts to check on the new parking technology by Lexus and to see whether it can really deliver what it promises. The Lexus LS guarantees to help especially when parallel parking is required. It comes with a feature that claims to let the car virtually park itself.

Consumer Reports' Jake Fisher was the one who checked out the automatic parking feature and here are some of his findings:

"I first get lined to the front of the car like you would normally in parallel parking. Put it in reverse. I choose parallel park feature. Point to the place where I really want to park. When the screen turns green I hit okay." Look, Ma! No hands!

So things worked out fine for Jake Fisher probably because he is an auto engineer so Consumer Reports has again conducted another test and this time they have enlisted Ina Gozenpud who is a self-described "parallel-parking disaster" to see if the virtual valet of Lexus could actually help Ina.

And here's what happened: To confirm the claim of Ina that she really can't parallel parked her car she was made to park a car without the Lexus virtual parking valet and Gozenpud said, "I really, really can't do this."

After 20 minutes of watching Ina maneuvering, Jake finally decided to let Ina drive the Lexus LS. Initial expectation of Ina was that parking is going to be one breezy experience but to her dismay she found out that it's not as easy as thought it would be.

First Jake found out that for somebody like Ina who is not that expert when it comes to parallel driving is still having difficulties even with the Lexus virtual valet. The source of difficulty? -- Finding the car's relative position to the curb.

But after some time Gozenpud finally got the hang of it and was happy to finally see Lexus coming up to what it has promised and surprisingly she was able to ease the car into the spot just inches from the curb. Gozenpud told Fisher that the Lexus virtual valet definitely helped.

The conclusion? According to Fisher, "Actually, using the electronics are a little tough. The self-parking feature is really for someone who's more comfortable programming their iPod than backing into a parallel spot." He also added that of course in case you have $75,000 to spare.

This article is based on the review posted on the consumerreports.com entitled A Self Parking Lexus.

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