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Is side parking with horizontal move is possible?
March 6, 2009 4:51 PM   Subscribe

Do you know any car which has the capability of horizontal move to achieve side parking when both of car length and parking area length are almost equal (i mean there is no space to parking maneuver)? Do you believe a car with this skill can improve your parking opportunities? And most importantly, is such a car suitable for mass production and feasible?I will be glad if you can share your detailed ideas with some source -if possible- for my mini research project. I am actually interested in the technical aspect of the matter.
posted by emmoglu to Technology (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You can pretty much engineer and build anything. This? I don't think there's a market for it.
posted by sanka at 4:59 PM on March 6, 2009


I remember an episode of Beyond 2000 from the early 90s that had a prototype car that did this. it used a fifth wheel mounted under the center of the vehicle for horizontal movement.

And yes, as someone who can not parallel park worth a damn and who parks blocks away from destinations just to avoid the hell of being boxed in, I'd love to have a car that could do this.
posted by bunnytricks at 5:04 PM on March 6, 2009


Honda made some cars with 4 wheel steering in the early '90s. The Prelude as one of them, or perhaps the only one. However, the 4 wheel steering was designed to help the car maneuver at speed and was far too subtle to help a car park. Honda no longer offers this feature.
posted by 517 at 5:04 PM on March 6, 2009


There was a car a number of years ago with 4-wheel steering - the late 80's perhaps? The wheels counter-steered at low speeds (tight turns) and turned in parallel at high speeds (i.e. highway lane changes).

Here's a USA Today article on "quadrasteer" for big trucks from 2003. But just google "4 wheel steering" and you'll find lots.
posted by GuyZero at 5:04 PM on March 6, 2009


It would be a huge inconvenience to parked cars without this capability. Think about it: you could get between 2 cars and leave both of them without enough room to get out.

I have seen numerous prototypes of a such cars, however.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:05 PM on March 6, 2009


Do you know any car which has the capability of horizontal move to achieve side parking when both of car length and parking area length are almost equal (i mean there is no space to parking maneuver)?

Yes. There have been concept vehicles that do this. One example is the Nissan Pivo 2. Another example is the Nasa Concept Car, which can do all kinds of crazy stuff. The new NASA moon rover, which was in Obama's inauguration parade, can drive sideways, I believe.

Do you believe a car with this skill can improve your parking opportunities?

Very, very rarely.

And most importantly, is such a car suitable for mass production and feasible?

Sure. But the question is whether it is marketable. The answer to that question is likely no. In parts of the world where parallel parking is extremely tight, people are typically very good at getting their cars into spots that are barely bigger than the car. I would be willing to bet that I could get a Fiat Uno into 99% of the spots that a sideways-parker could fit in.

One thing that you should definitely check out is this video of Airtrax Omnidirectional Wheels, which do exactly what you're proposing. I am certain that they would not be well-suited for driving at highway speeds, though.
posted by The World Famous at 5:10 PM on March 6, 2009


I'm not sure it would be worth the additional cost. But I came to say something else: I see a lot pf people saying/implying that they can get into most parking spots already without the sideways parking option.

The reason you can fit your car into those spots is that those spots were "built" for non-sideways parking cars. Some other car was parked there before and everyone left enough room for that non-sideways car to get in our out. Now you show up and there's a spot big enough to maneuver in and out.

If the sideways car became common, parking spots would become smaller. People wouldn't feel like they had to leave any room for maneuvering. There would be more parking spots because cars would park closer together, so more cars would fit on any given block.

That said, I still don't think it would be worth the cost.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:18 PM on March 6, 2009


The Lexus LS 460 L will parallel park mostly by itself.

No wheels going horizontal, just sonar and a computer doing the parking.
posted by ShooBoo at 5:34 PM on March 6, 2009


Not exactly the question but did you know that smart cars can park sideways?
posted by katrielalex at 5:35 PM on March 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Some other car was parked there before and everyone left enough room for that non-sideways car to get in our out.

Not always. Moreover, even if your assertion were true, would this not also be the case with any parking space that is exactly the minimum size that a sideways-parker could fit in?
posted by The World Famous at 5:40 PM on March 6, 2009


People wouldn't feel like they had to leave any room for maneuvering.

In Italy, in my experience (and France, often) they already don't.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 5:47 PM on March 6, 2009


Not always. Moreover, even if your assertion were true, would this not also be the case with any parking space that is exactly the minimum size that a sideways-parker could fit in?

Yes, that's my point. The size of the spot left over (or left for) a sideways parker is smaller than the size of the spot leftover (or left for) a non-sideways parker.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:57 PM on March 6, 2009


Here's a specialized forklift doing what you're describing - a good video as it shows the mechanism pretty well.

It seems like a lot of structural and engineering changes for an essentially single use feature.
posted by nanojath at 5:57 PM on March 6, 2009


I drive and park in NYC daily. I do not need this feature. I already have bumpers. They work marvels.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:57 PM on March 6, 2009


Dymaxion Car (~1:06)
Just because the Dymaxion Car belongs in every car thread.
posted by Floydd at 6:00 PM on March 6, 2009


I saw one of these cars on tv. The deal is that you cant have wheels go sideways and still have them connected to the drive train. So the owner had to get out and push the car into the spot. Im sure you could develop an axle that does that but the unneeded weight and complexity is probably a maintenance, reliability, and engineering nightmare.

Do you believe a car with this skill can improve your parking opportunities?

No. Its pretty rare I see spaces I cant fit into here in Chicago and when I do theyre ridiculously small. No technology is going to fix that. A skilled parallel parker can get into spaces not too much bigger than his car.

Considering how easy it is to learn parallel parking I doubt this is a marketable idea.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:02 PM on March 6, 2009


another solution
posted by zippy at 6:56 PM on March 6, 2009


Prototype This modified a truck to do this, as well as "vertical" parking. They used the Airtrax system linked to by The World Famous.
posted by Duke999R at 6:58 PM on March 6, 2009


I've often wondered if you could make a car to "drive" sideways even without turning the wheels a full 90°, as long as both front and back wheels were driven and somewhat steerable— you'd end up forcing them to skid, which wouldn't be the best thing for the tires I'm sure and might be hard to control, but it might be good enough for parallel parking.

On the other hand, having watched Floydd's link, I now just want a Dymaxion Car.
posted by hattifattener at 7:16 PM on March 6, 2009


This was apparently a University of Toronto student project
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:37 PM on March 6, 2009


There was I think a Rinspeed concept car that did this via a fifth wheel... But as I see it, without most cars having this ability it doesn't do you any good because you're going to potentially "trap" the cars you park next to.
posted by glider at 7:39 PM on March 6, 2009


Popular Mechanics magazine had an article about a think called "Sidler" that levered the car into the parking spot.
posted by flutable at 7:41 PM on March 6, 2009


If this feature were common it would not mean that parking spaces would be much smaller. Cars come in different lengths, and a delineated parking space must allow for that difference. Some spaces are now labeled for "compact" cars. Would we have distinct spaces for "side parkers"?
(This is starting to sound like a Seinfeld skit.)
posted by TDIpod at 9:39 PM on March 6, 2009


Not exactly the question but did you know that smart cars can park sideways?

However, some no-fun parking attendants will get your car clamped for parking improperly.

I saw one of these cars on tv. The deal is that you cant have wheels go sideways and still have them connected to the drive train. So the owner had to get out and push the car into the spot.

If you were designing a concept car these days, you'd put in an all-electric drivetrain with motors in the wheels. because if it's a concept car it doesn't have to be practical with current technology

Considering how easy it is to learn parallel parking I doubt this is a marketable idea.

There's plenty of things that have been "easy to learn" in the past that now no-one needs to learn. I mean, no-one memorises phone numbers in this age of mobile phones.

That said, a system to make parallel parking easier with sideways steering would be in direct competition with a sonar/lidar automatic parallel parking system like ShooBoo links to - but much more complicated. Would people go for all the additional complexity, to get into a parking space 6 inches smaller?
posted by Mike1024 at 2:38 AM on March 7, 2009


Just give the engine enough torque and you don't have to put in any crazy 5th-wheel / sideways driving crap. For example, here's a Honda Civic.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:45 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


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