Forget the car-turns-the-wheel-while-you-work-the-gas-pedal crap that the first generation of self-parking cars put you through. Via Autoblog, here’s a video of Junior, Stanford’s entry in the 2007 DARPA Grand Challenge (it took second place) demonstrating without human intervention how I want my next car to park itself:
What’s interesting to me about this—aside from the obvious Transporter-esque bad-assery of it all—is the evident focus on dealing with the full range of possible vehicle dynamics. Developing technologies that allow autonomous vehicles to operate in varied conditions is an important step towards the eventual development of self-driving cars and of course, once those technology mature, genocidal robot overlords. Judging by this, it seems like researchers are making real progress.
There’s another video explaining the technology at work in Junior’s parking maneuver in Autoblog’s original post, and there’s also a related video here of Stanford’s self-driving Audi TT, showing off its ability to negotiate an off-road oval in preparation for its planned assault on Pike’s Peak this September.