It is often said that nothing is new under the sun, and most modern progress is only a later attempt. The same is true of automatic parking, which most of us think is a modern feature of some of the most advanced cars on the market. But if I tell you, although automatic parking technology appears in different forms, it can actually be traced back to the 1930s.
This may sound surprising, because auto parking is still a relatively new thing, but that is the truth. Of course, this technology has never been used for large-scale production of automobiles. It is only limited to the vehicles belonging to the inventor. However, it is quite attractive that someone has been able to realize this idea so early in the history of automobiles. At that time, the technology had limitations, and no one was willing to invest in it. Fast forward to today, automatic parking technology is being added to more cars at different prices, including Tesla with FSD and automatic driving.
The automatic parking system involves a fifth wheel
The first automatic parking technology is not a complete car, but a device that can be added to an existing car, which can make it easy for drivers to park parallel in a narrow space. This historic technology was invented by Brooks walker from California. To make this possible, Walker installed a fifth wheel at the rear of the car, which can be lowered to the ground and raise the rear tires. It is understood that the rear wheel is used to rotate the rear of the car to adapt to the narrow space. Walker first tried this innovation on a four door Packard car, which was introduced in an old video on "the fifth tire" on YouTube. In December of 1938, Walker applied for a patent for this invention.
By the 1950s, Walker was still studying his invention of automatic parking and had a name park car. In addition, he has already installed this invention on a Cadillac. In an interview with life magazine in 1952, Walker pointed out that the installation cost of the device was about $175 - about $1840 in 2022. Around that time, he met with the Detroit auto company, but the latter were not interested in investing in park car. Brooks Walker was committed to this automotive innovation until his death in the 1970s.