I always wondered about about the new Lexus that self parallel parks. Having lived for three years in a city apartment with no off street parking I perfected the skill of parallel parking in a spot only inches larger than my four door Honda Civic. I thought it was a sham so when I read the NY Times article by Calvin Trillin I was redeemed.
"Then I got behind the wheel and we set out to find a beautiful spot. Well, not exactly a beautiful spot. A spot that is worthy of that name — a truly satisfying spot, a spot good enough to spin yarns about in bars where parkers gather — requires some skill to get into. The Advanced Parking Guidance System works only if the spot is six and a half feet longer than the car — the sort of spot, in other words, that the average Manhattan parker comes upon about once every 14 or 15 years. The only parker who might need help from a guidance system to get into such a spot is a parker who is driving himself home from rotator cuff surgery. For Lexus to offer a self-parking system for a spot that size is the equivalent of some high-end kitchen-equipment manufacturer offering a self-carving system that only works on meatloaf."
Now I am in L.A. and I am so happy I have a place to park my car. Though the lot is so small I spent the first 3 months scraping the side of my car against the house trying to manuever out of the driveway. Its 2007, still no flying cars.