It's white van versus man.
The Park Assist system was up against parking world record holder and professional stunt driver Alastair Moffatt in a battle to fit the 5.9-metre-long van into the 7.5-metre long space. However, Moffatt was given the somewhat more difficult task of parking the huge commercial vehicle with a handbrake turn.
WIth the space marked out by cardboard boxes, Moffatt first let the van do the work, with the on-board ultrasonic sensors scanning the space to see whether it was big enough. After selecting reverse, the technology then put the van into the best starting position and steered automatically into the space. Moffatt, meanwhile, was reduced to controlling the accelerator, brake and clutch while the van steered itself.
Once the tech had proven its mettle, Moffatt took back manual control to slide the van into a space just a metre or so longer than its own body. Although his sideways antics proved successful, one attempt saw the turbulent air left in the wake of the skidding van dislodge the cardboard boxes marking out the space.
Sarah Cox, head of marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles said the fitment of high-tech driver assistance kit such as Park Assist was part of the brand’s attempt to help VW van users successfully navigate vehicle ownership.
“Our Working With You brand promise is designed to help Volkswagen customers in all aspects of owning a van and part of that is offering class-leading technologies such as Park Assist,” she said. “We want to help our customers park their vans in the safest and most accurate way so that they can avoid parking fines and reduce stress. The Park Assist technology was a perfect match for professional stunt driver, Alastair Moffatt, and a slightly less hair-raising manoeuvre!”
Alastair Moffatt, who owns the world record for tightest single, double, triple and reverse parallel park, said the van’s handling characteristics helped him fit the vehicle into the tight space.
“I was really impressed with how nimble the Volkswagen Crafter proved to be,” he said. “Handbrake turning such a big vehicle isn’t always easy. I’ve spent years mastering the art of parking but taking on Park Assist was still a real challenge because it was 100 percent accurate every time. I really had to be on the top of my game to match it.”