The "Remote Parking" menu is quite simple and divided into two tiles

CES 2017: Demo Report on Clarion and Hitachi’s Remote Parking System

At the CES 2017 demo course area, Hitatchi Automotive Systems and Clarion gave visitors the chance to try out their new Remote Parking System that utilizes smartphones that the two companies jointly announced at the end of last year. I’ll take this opportunity to list a few of the merits that I found with the system in this article.

By pooling their collective resources and making use of each company’s technological developments, Clarion and Hitachi have jointly delivered on their new Remote Parking System

This system takes for its basis the Clarion developed SurroundEye vehicle circumference monitoring camera system and Hitachi Automotive System’s Automotive Control Unit, and through implementing an actuator control system controlling steering and braking, the two companies were able to produce this technology. The driver, using a custom smartphone app, is able to both park and pull out his or her vehicle remotely.

On the smartphone, the surrounding area of the car and its path are displayed from a bird’s eye perspective in real time, allowing for the user to grasp what is immediately surrounding the vehicle and safely operate the car remotely. A big point of this software is its easy to understand interface, allowing for one to choose from parking types such as normal row parking or parallel parking as well as various other options easily. Since the car can be remotely parked or pulled out of a parking space, this allows for persons to park their vehicles in particularly tricky spaces as well.

While running, spaces where the car can be parked are automatically searched for

Here’s where the actual demonstration begins. Once the car approaches an area where it seems it can be parked, potential parking spaces on the right side of the car are searched for and a box on the screen for potential parking spaces comes up as yellow with recommended spaces being displayed in blue. If the car is stopped in an area close to this (normally at this stage, the driver will exit the vehicle, but because this demo hoped to show the movements of the car better, we remained in the vehicle at this stage), the “Remote Parking” option is selected on the smartphone.

By holding down on the “Parking” button that appears on the next screen, the parking operation begins. The car automatically moves to a location from which it is easiest to park and, while spinning the wheel, moves the car into the parking space. When pulling out, one can select which direction one wishes the car to be oriented in after pulling out of the space, either left or right, and regardless of whether one is pulling in or pulling out, one can more the car to the preferred stopping point by simply holding down on the button on the smartphone’s screen.

In terms of safety, if any of the censors mounted around the vehicle detect a pedestrian or obstacle, this will automatically stop the vehicle. During the demo, they provided a little skit where a pedestrian came walking out and cut behind the car, which immediately stopped the car. Furthermore, emergency stops can be implemented by simply taking one’s hand off of the phone’s screen. This functions the same when pulling in to a parking space, providing immediate support for potentially dangerous situations that technology such as this may invite.

In order to control the car from outside, “Remote Parking” operations were deliberately made to be quick

When moving into a parking space, the speed at which the vehicle moves is much quicker than one would think with this kind of technology. According to our demonstrator, “If movements are quick while someone is still in the car, this may provide a sense of fear or panic, but when outside the vehicle, the operator won’t really feel that way. We were conscious of showing off the merits of quick action when coming up with this technology.” Furthermore, a number of errors were encountered during the span of our demonstration. Since it was getting dark, the same demonstrator stated that “It may be influenced by how dark it is.”

Otherwise, we were also treated to demos for an Automatic Emergency Braking System (AEB) that utilized stereoscopic cameras (though the technology was still in its infancy) as well as an automatic follow technology for use in traffic jams. With the AEB system test, the car drove at a set speed toward a panel used to represent a pedestrian where the car would continue to move until it entered a “danger zone,” at which point automatic braking would occur. This technology was able to pick up smaller obstacles around the size of pedestrians, and the demo displayed the range of control this kind of system affords.

In terms of the traffic jam automatic follow technology, control over the vehicle was implemented such that it would follow the proceeding car even around gentle curves. From braking to forward movement, even steering were all automatically controlled. Due to its reliance on sending out signals, the technology seems somewhat inefficient, but otherwise the car moved forward smoothly during out test.

Both companies are planning to being talks with auto manufactures in the future to get these technologies up and running in consumer vehicles.

[Translated by Bryce Clarke]