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Josh Miller/CNET

Valeo demonstrates parking by iPhone

At the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, equipment maker Valeo demonstrated how its Park4U system could be controlled from an iPhone, making it unnecessary to actually be in the car.

Valeo parking demonstration
A Valeo representative uses an iPhone to park a VW between two other cars. Josh Miller/CNET

Automotive equipment supplier Valeo put a new twist on its Park4U system at the 2011 International Motor Show in Frankfurt this week. It enabled the system to be controlled from an iPhone.

A Valeo representative stood outside the car, a Volkswagen Sharan, and parked it merely by using an iPhone app. The car, going in reverse, turned its wheel to slot into a narrow, perpendicular parking spot between two other cars.

But this technology is not as futuristic as it looks. The Volkswagen Sharan, a model not available in the United States, can already be had with Valeo's Park4U technology. Park4U, versions of which can be found on cars from Lincoln, Ford, Audi, and Volkswagen, uses sensors around the car and steering wheel control to automatically guide cars into parallel and perpendicular parking spots. The driver only need control accelerator and brake.

For this demonstration, Valeo added remote control of accelerator and brake with an iPhone app. As such, a driver could pull up to a spot, jump out of the car, and park it using the iPhone. A system such as this would be useful for parking a car in narrow spaces, where it would be difficult to open the driver door once parked, and for wheelchair unloading, which might need more space next to the car than is available.

The current version of the Park4U technology needs 22 inches in front and back of the car for parallel parking. Valeo is working on a future version that will only need 16 inches.