The Cult of Cars, Racing and Everything That Moves You.
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This Incredibly Simple And Possibly Stupid Idea Could Protect Your Car When It's Parked

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Parking Sensor
Illustration: Jason Torchinsky

This has been kicking around in my head for months, so now you get to have it kicking around in your head: Your car should warn other drivers if they’re about to back into it. It seems like it would be technically feasible, and I don’t see any real downsides. Here’s how I think it would work:

Most new cars have some kind of parking sensor to alert you when you’re getting close to objects you can’t see. They could be left on or be activated by a small, low-power motion sensor. When another car starts getting too close, your car could flash its indicators; if it keeps getting closer, it could honk the horn. Of course, the system would shut itself down after a time if your battery’s voltage dropped below a certain level. Why does this not exist?


I asked Jason what he thought, and he brought up the risk of a false positive, which I think is fair. But that seems like something you could calibrate for, with the warning being commensurate with the danger of a collision. You wouldn’t want every car on the block tooting and flashing every time someone walked by, so that is something to figure out.

I asked David about it, and he brought up the fact that most newer cars have backup sensors already, but I noted that there still seem to be plenty of people parking by feel, especially in places like New York City. A little honk might deter those inclined to play bumper cars.


Based on my thorough survey, I can’t really think of a reason why it wouldn’t work. If you can, drop a comment below. If you’re an automaker and you want to put this into production, let me know. I’d want to pick the name.