Scientist creates formula for perfect parking

Dec 11, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Forget roasting a textbook turkey or perfect present-wrapping this month. The real test of Britons’ mettle will come as we try to park in tight spots on busy roads, with 35 million of us heading to the shops over the next few weeks. Help, however, is at hand, as Professor Simon Blackburn, from Royal Holloway, University of London, has collaborated with Vauxhall Motors to create a mathematical formula to show motorists how to park perfectly.

The report on the mathematics of was created after research revealed that over half (57%) of Britons lack confidence in their parking ability and a third (32%) would rather drive further from their destination or to a pricier car park, purely to avoid manoeuvring a tricky space.

Professor Blackburn says, "Parking the car is something that most of us do on a daily basis - and we all get a little frustrated with it sometimes. This was the perfect opportunity to show how we can apply mathematics to understanding something that we all share.”

He adds, "The formula and our advice can help people understand what good parallel parking involves. Everyone has had the experience of ignoring a space because you're not sure if you can fit in or not. This formula solves that problem."

Professor Blackburn demonstrates the geometry of a seamless park, based on a car’s wheel-base, and the minimum length of the space as calculated by the formula (above). The formula begins by using the radius of a car's turning circle and the distance between the vehicle's front and back wheels.

Then, using the length of the car’s nose and the width of an adjacent car, the can tell exactly how big a space needs to be for your car to fit. By applying this to basic parking guidelines, you can work out exactly when to turn the to slide in perfectly.

Simon Ewart, from Vauxhall Motors, comments, “For most of us, the best part of being behind the wheel is usually the driving! But as we found that half of Britons try more than one spot in their efforts to park, and one in ten of them switch spaces five or more times, there’s no escaping the fact that parking can be challenging for the best of drivers. Hopefully this report proving that it is possible will give people the confidence to try.”

More information: The full report is available to view on www.ma.rhul.ac.uk/sblackburn

Provided by Royal Holloway, University of London

Explore further: Researchers help Boston Marathon organizers plan for 2014 race

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers count lots of parking lots

Sep 11, 2007

U.S. drivers like lots of parking lots, according to a study that shows in some Indiana areas parking spaces outnumber resident drivers 3-to-1.

Green machine drives for ultra fuel savings

Apr 19, 2005

This is what cars of the future or at least a family’s second car should look like, according to University of Queensland students. It's called the UltraCommuter - a clean, light, solar-electric concept car ...

Recommended for you

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

3 hours ago

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

6 hours ago

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

7 hours ago

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

7 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

User comments : 9

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

teledyn
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2009
hmmm ... now that we've formalized the process, I wonder if we'll be able to automate this?
jgreen
3 / 5 (1) Dec 11, 2009
The formula lacks some variables I think:

b = bumpers. The amount of distance (or lack thereof) of space between your car and the bumpers of the fools who have parked in front of, and behind you. (see variable sg = sugar in gas tank or sh = smashed headlights)

mm = Meter maid. The time that elapses between the meters' expiration and the ticket which appears upon your windshield. (usually measured in milliseconds!)

gl = Gridlock. The time it takes to pull out of the space and into the traffic flow (usually measured in hours, especially if variable B applies to leaving the parking space). (see variable st = stuck in traffic only 2 car lengths from the perfect spot and the guy in front of you pulls in when the light turns green)

fs = Finding the spot. The amount of hours (or even days) it takes to find a parking spot in this city only to be beaten out by some joker driving a car half your size which zips in front of you and pulls in. (see variable KD = Killing the driver)

LWM
5 / 5 (1) Dec 12, 2009
The British waste money on asinine studies also? I thought that was purely an American thing...
axemaster
4 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2009
"The formula and our advice can help people understand what good parallel parking involves. Everyone has had the experience of ignoring a space because you're not sure if you can fit in or not. This formula solves that problem."

Kudos to finding this interesting geometric solution. Don't expect anybody to be able to do that in their heads though!
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2009
Think automated parking systems. Many of the constants are known and some could be estimated via on-board camera systems.

This is not useless science. Deploying such systems could save a hell of a lot of money in car repairs, (not to mention avoid road rage, lawsuits, ... )
LWM
1 / 5 (1) Dec 12, 2009
Think automated parking systems. Many of the constants are known and some could be estimated via on-board camera systems.

This is not useless science. Deploying such systems could save a hell of a lot of money in car repairs, (not to mention avoid road rage, lawsuits, ... )

__________________

Uh, or you could just learn to drive.
Nik_2213
5 / 5 (1) Dec 12, 2009
Uh, what helps are the little things like having 'reversing sonar' to count down the inches, and a car with adequate visibility to the corners. Our previous car had a wide-angle 'fresnel' lens in tail-gate window. Must be said that parallel-parking is much easier than having to bump near-side or all wheels onto kerb, too...
Hunnter
not rated yet Dec 12, 2009
Not going to be that useful in every day life, especially with those square roots in there.
Square roots, or roots in general, are just one of those things that not a lot of people like.
A lot of people tend to forget that you can estimate the answer fairly closely using other roots.

It still won't help though, but experience with parking will.
Makes me wonder how half these people even passed...
SincerelyTwo
not rated yet Dec 12, 2009
The point is, anything we can learn how to describe through mathematics can be implemented in robots so they can make us look like idiots in everything that we try.

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...