Self Parking Cars are Being Legalised in the UK

By Tom Pritchard on at

With all the talk of the distant future where all cars drive themselves while we mere mortals watch videos on our phones, it's easy to forget that cars can do a bunch of cool things by themselves already. Parking is one of them, but it's been pointed out that this is technically illegal under current legislation. So the government is actually doing something about it.

A new consultation document pointed out that drivers who activate a self-parking system by pressing a button on a key fob or phone actually risk being fined under current law. Something about how people aren't supposed to use their phones behind the wheel.

Currently people are only allowed to use their phones to call the emergency services, and even then only if they're unable to pull the car over and stop. The consultation says that drivers should also be allowed to look at handheld devices, like phones, to activate the self-parking features. The proposal would also legalise the use of autonomous systems that have control over car speed and position on motorways. Drivers would have to keep their hands on the wheel and attention on the road for the time being, however.

The consultation also suggests a new addition to the Highway Code, stating "You can park your vehicle via remote control, using a legally compliant parking application or device in an appropriate way which does not endanger others."

The government is reportedly quite supportive of automated parking systems, claiming they could "revolutionise driving for all". Maybe not as much as a car that can drive itself, but it's not like the government has anything bad to say about those. The government claims that such systems can make life easier for people with reduced mobility, and others who might need to get into tight parking spaces of small garages on a regular basis.

The six week consultation was launched yesterday, and we'll no doubt here more about its findings and recommendations in due course. [BBC News]

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