Image gallery: Drivers' technology helpers

Think your spouse is a back-seat driver? Check out some of these automated features.

Editor's note: This image gallery accompanies our story Car tech: Taking drivers' helpers for a spin.

Ford's Active Park Assist works both on straight surfaces as well as on hills. Here's how it happens: 1. The driver pulls alongside a potential parking spot and activates the system by pressing a button on the instrument panel. This activates electronic sensors to identify and measure a feasible parking spot. 2. The system prompts the driver to accept the parking assistance. The steering system then takes over and steers the car into the parking spot, hands-free. The driver still shifts the transmission and operates the gas and brake pedals with prompts from the system.

3. A visual and/or audible signal prompts the driver about the proximity of other cars, objects and people -- and provides instructions about what to do.

Courtesy: Ford Motor Co.


Ford's park assist


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Blind-spot warnings -- such as this indicator on an Acura ZDX -- warn you about an approaching vehicle. They use sensors that send out a radio blip and listen for a quick response.

Acura blind-spot warning


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These sensors on the back of the Buick Lucerne help with parking. As you back up into a free spot, lights near the rear window warn you if you get too close to another car.

Multiple sensors


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As you back up, lights warn you about a nearby vehicle. The sensors can tell if the car is a few feet away, or just inches away, and show more red dots as you approach.

Buick's backup helper


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The Buick Lucerne has rain-activated windshield wipers. This feature is becoming common on many models, including some from Mazda.

Buick's automated wipers


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