Running on Fumes: Automated Parallel Parking

Editorial : January 5, 2009

We’re now through the looking glass. The world has changed and there’s no turning back. The machines have won. At this point it’s only a matter of time before Judgment Day arrives and a metallic endoskeleton that looks strangely like the Governor of California comes marching down the street to urge you to vote Republican and punch your spinal fluid. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Why the sudden hatred for all things mechanical?” Simple answer: Ford’s Active Park Assist System.

You're Terminated

According to a recent press release, Ford’s new automated parallel parking system will allow owners of the Lincoln MKS and Lincoln MKT to parallel park their cars with the simple push of a button. I’d like to repeat that as I find it scary and want to make sure you understand how ridiculous this is: Ford has manufactured a car that will park itself!

“With the touch of a button, Lincoln MKS and MKT drivers can parallel park quickly, easily and safely without ever touching the steering wheel,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development.

Take me to your Leader

I don’t know about you, but taking control away from drivers and putting it in the hands (wires?) of an artificially intelligent device scares the absolute crap out of me. Drivers today are complacent and absent-minded enough, the last thing they need is one more chance to talk on their cell phones while the computer parking their car backs over a miniature Schnauzer.

You’ll have to forgive my tired old bones as I climb onto my soapbox but, I remember the days when driving was an honest to God skill and the ability to parallel park was a badge of honor. My Grandfather could parallel park a school bus in New York City traffic if he had to and was damn proud of it. Nowadays you don’t even have to parallel park on your drivers test. What’s the world coming to?

If this automated trend continues pretty soon we won’t even have to drive our cars or clean up after ourselves. We’ll sit idly by as unemployment rates climb, average IQ’s drop, and the machines slowly take over our day to day lives. National Speed won’t even need bloggers anymore. Posts will be written by an automated machine (and probably contain less typos and grammatical errors — so at least that’s a plus).

Perhaps the alarmist in me is getting a little worked up, but I damn sure want to be able to brag to my children that I once parallel parked a Hummer without them asking me, “what’s a parallel park?”

Warmest Regards,

Blogging Automaton #117789-2