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Sunday, May 21, 2006

#228: Parallel Parking Patent

A few years ago, I checked online to see if someone had already patented the idea I had about wheels on a car turning 90 degrees for easy parallel parking. Because this is a feature that I would be interested in and I think many other city dwellers as well since it would make such parking much easier and allow you to fit into spaces otherwise impossible to get into by conventional modes. The patent existed, though, so my dreams of early retirement were over, but my annoyance is in the fact that no carmakers has put this technology into a car. Not knowing much about car manufacturing, it still seems like it should be something that isn't that hard to do or adds too much to the cost of the vehicle. Maybe the market just isn't big enough, but I have to think that just New York alone would have enough people needing this feature to make it a worthwhile option to offer in cars. Severity: 1


Andy said...

Actually, something very similar to this was tried in the 1950's and I once saw a movie of it in action. Basically, it involved a fifth wheel that dropped down from behind the rear bumper (presumably in a rear wheel well akin to the vertically mounted spare tire on the old Lincoln Continentals) and it would raise the car so the rear driving wheel were off the ground and then it spun the car sideways into the spot. It looked really goofy and I'm sure required some very complex and expensive power equipment, not to mention that I doubt if many people would really be a good enough judge of distance to be able to use it safely. Plus, parking on the steep streets of San Francisco might be a little on the dangerous side.

Anonymous said...

On the Style Network, they did a show about modern day conveniences for women and featured a car that parallel parks. Basically, you pull up to the spot, then all 4 wheels turn 90 degrees, and then you move into the spot. I like Mr. Bean's car which is so tiny that you never need to parallel park ... you just park normally between two cars and your tail will never stick out.

Vicki Stockton said...

On the other hand, you are driving 70 MPH when you suddenly notice a cute chipmunk in the road, so you swerve to miss him and the wheels hang a right angle and your ass flies off a cliff into a life-ending inferno! (Always looking at the positive side of things).

Marc Schoenfeld said...

Well, I'm insulted that they think only women have tough times fitting into spaces. I guess the car exists, but must be very specialized.

I assume that the 90 degree shift of the wheels would only work when the car was stopped, sort of like the brake needing to be pressed to get out of Park, for safety reason if a car had the parking feature.