Fighting congestion

* The future of driving * Safety and comfort systems * What will it cost the motorist?...

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What Car? Staff
24 February 2009

Fighting congestion
Besides warning other road users of hazards, every car could also send information on congestion to a central traffic computer. Current TMC and Trafficmaster systems give patchwork information on congestion to those with the technology but, with data from every car, on every road, the potential to redirect and organise traffic is enormous.

Pearson says computers might organise traffic flow along the same lines as data moves across telecommunications networks: 'We looked at how ants organise their colonies to help us find the fastest routes for different amounts of data to get across telecoms routes, so you could use this information to cut congestion.'

Click links below for moreWe used three systems to park cars in bays 120cm longer than the test car's length. All three required the driver to moderate the speed, and stop and change gear

**Mercedes-Benz
Active Park Assist

Available on the A- and B-Class
538
The B-Class we tried missed our test bay on a few occasions, but when the system recognised the space, it got the car very close to the kerb. A bit too close it consistently guided the rear tyre into the kerb, yet it didn't damage the wheel. The system adjusted the steering until the car was parked, too.
[
See the Mercedes park**](#)

**Toyota and Lexus
Intelligent Parking Assist

Standard on Toyota Prius, T Spirit and Lexus LS 600h models. Optional on the LS 460
0 390
We tested this system on the huge Lexus LS 600h L: all we had to do to engage the system was select reverse gear and press the parallel park button on the screen display. The system then steered us into the bay, getting nice and close to the kerb without scuffing the wheels. However, once we had reversed, it was up to us to adjust the steering and line the car up in the bay. The system can also reverse the car straight into bays, but it rarely picked up our space when tested.
[
See the Lexus park**](#)

**Volkswagen and Audi
Parallel Park Assist

Available on Audi A3 and A3 Cabriolet, Volkswagen Golf, Passat CC, Tiguan and Touran models
235-925
We tried out the Park Assist in the Audi A3 and, apart from a strange five-minute period where it went blind,it consistently found our test bay. The system did a fair job of parking the car, but left it a way out from the kerb. It did the lion's share of the work, steering the car while we were reversing, then telling us to select first gear before turning the steering wheel for another trim. It was then up to the us to make the easy, final adjustments to leave it neat and tidy.
[
See the Audi park**](#)