Here’s an Aftermarket Self-Park Module

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STEER adds self-parking to many cars

A startup company out of Annapolis, MD will let you add remote parking and car summoning to your existing vehicle.

STEER Tech is offering a module plus camera that can be installed by 12 volt and other installers. It works with a smartphone app to enable “the industry’s first technology that can do a hands-off park; it’s ready today, it’s on fleets and vehicles and we’re working with automotive manufacturers to include it in new cars,”  said Dr. Anuja Sonalker, CEO STEER Tech.

Sites must be pre-mapped for the system to work, but a site can be mapped in about 15 minutes, said Sonalker. About 35 areas in MD are already mapped. Then from an app, users can command the car to drive into a parking garage, find a spot, all the while looking out for obstacles and pedestrians or other vehicles. It will obey stop signs and then park.  When you want to retrieve the car, you summon it and it picks you up at a set location.

The car has the capability to actually drop you off at the airport and find a parking spot.

This year, the company will start mapping sites in Southern California and the Dallas/Ft. Worth areas.

STEER works with most cars produced after 2012. Users input their car make and model on the STEER-tech.com website to find out if their car is compatible.

The product has been heavily tested in all kinds of weather, lighting conditions, and in front of pedestrians, shopping carts and other obstacles, said STEER.  It is currently in use on 50 to 60 commercial vehicles.

The company is in the process of training various installers at local car dealerships.  It is looking to create a national program that can include car audio installers, depending on their region.

The full STEER kit is a computing module plus a camera at an end-user cost of $1,500 installed and it takes about 4 to 5 hours to install.  The kit comes with all wires and connectors and tools for testing, said Sonalker who has a background in automotive cybersecurity.

A Forbes article on the company quoted Sonalker saying the system is particularly useful when pulling out of very tight parking spots where you can’t really open the doors. It can be used to park one’s car in one’s own garage as well. The system is sufficiently intelligent to fail to obey a command if it senses an obstacle. In that case, it will wait until the coast is clear.

How is STEER able to “steer” so precisely within a parking garage? Sonalker credits the system’s redundant sensors which include ultrasonic, radar and camera sensors.

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Agreed Lou, I wouldn’t take on the liability of installing one of these. It’s one thing for Tesla to handle lawsuits from autonomous driving/control, but independent shops, no way. I’m also curious at the price…I can’t see the labor being cheap by any standards, if it is to be done right and cautiously.

    My biggest question is how does it control non-servo equipped steering and braking? Can’t see adding either of those options to vehicles that don’t have them now.

    This seems like a niche product, but very specific to the platforms they’ve chosen to test on, I don’t see it as being “real-world” applicable to over 80% – 90%of current vehicles on the road today.

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