national

Bad at reverse parking? Back seat that vanishes at touch of a button may help

9 Comments

The clever minds at prestigious Keio University in Tokyo have created a new device that makes the rear seat “disappear” when reversing, and have released a new video demonstrating how, with its help, the sometimes arduous task of reversing into a space could soon become a breeze.

Tinkering around with a modified Toyota Prius, the university’s graduate research team have been putting their latest technology through its paces by having a driver with a particular fear of reverse parking give the maneuver a shot both with and without the device installed.

Keio University was established in 1858 in an old manor house in Tsukiji -- an area of Tokyo that many readers will know as the location of the famous fish market where much of the nation’s seafood arrives and is auctioned off.

The university boasts that it is the oldest tertiary education institute in the country, and has come to be known as the location where many elite students further their education, and are often marked for great things thereafter.

This week, the Keio University Graduate Research Institute unveiled an interesting new device that they say makes the rear of the car disappear.

But what does that mean exactly? Take a look for yourself in this video.

The driver, referred to in the video as a “paper driver” since she holds a valid license but does not actually drive (you’d be surprised how many people like this live in urban areas), admits that she has trouble reversing into parking spaces.

But she’s precisely the kind of driver the institute need to test out Keio’s new gadget.

After a quick spin around the parking lot to ensure that the driver, a Ms Takahashi, is not about to career off the road and mow a few passing students down, it’s time to try reserving into a spot marked out by rows of blue plastic cones. Turning to look over her shoulder, Takahashi extends a finger to push a small button on the pre-installed. “Wow, that’s amazing!” she exclaims.

While no part of the car itself changes - even though some of us were hoping for some Transformers-esque metallic mutations- something kind of cool happens inside the vehicle.

The small tablet computer-sized screen is fitted just behind the driver, between the driver and passenger seat.

At the top of the image, we can clearly see the inside of the car, but on the screen, it’s as if we’re looking directly through of the back of the vehicle. Shopping, kids, sports gear, dogs; whatever’s in the back seat seems to vanish and the driver can clearly see what is directly behind the car.

If someone is standing behind the car, for example, we can clearly see their body on the screen, while their top half appears in the rear window.

The effect is kind of freaky, but could no doubt prove to be hugely helpful to drivers who struggle with this maneuver.

No word yet on when the device will find its way into road models, but knowing Japan’s love for technology, it can’t be far away.

Although devices like rear-mounted cameras alreay exist, the current models require the driver to focus their attention on a dash-mounted screen, meaning that they are left completely unaware of the area they are reversing into besides that which is shown on the screen. Keio University’s new toy means that drivers can turn their attention to the rear of the vehicle entirely, meaning that the whole process of backing into a space suddenly becomes much safer for people like you and me who might otherwise find ourselves trapped behind cars being driven by Ms Takahashi here.

“But why back into a space at all?” I hear you cry, ever so softly. “Couldn’t these people just park front-end first?”

Well, in Japan it’s considered polite (of course!) to reverse into parking spaces rather than reverse out of them when you leave. While you might think that this takes longer to do, since backing into a space is far trickier than reversing back into a larger area, the idea is that, by backing in rather than out, we’re less likely to cause an accident by colliding with passing traffic or people when we leave.

And thanks to the clever boys and girls at Keio University, we might all be doing it a little easier very soon.

Source: Yahoo! Japan

© RocketNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


9 Comments
Login to comment

Sure... its the fault of the back seat.... Among all the funny habits of the japanese people their driving abilities are the most funny ones.

I doubt that 10% of japanese would manage to pass a driving test in Europe. It never ceases to amaze me when I see their faces, when I tell then that in Europe you actually go through the effort of turning around in your seat to see where you are rolling while parking in backwards.

I have never seen a country where so many people are totally asleep while driving....

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

My Japanese wife is an "official" paper driver so she will be very happy and me too??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

in Japan it’s considered polite (of course!) to reverse into parking spaces rather than reverse out of them when you leave. While you might think that this takes longer to do, since backing into a space is far trickier than reversing back into a larger area, the idea is that, by backing in rather than out, we’re less likely to cause an accident by colliding with passing traffic or people when we leave.

Huh? Well, if people find it easier to get into a tight space by driving in forwards, good luck to them, but, erm, I always thought it had to do with the fact that most cars are front-wheel drive, and it's just that it's physically easier to manoevre in a small space backwards. Am I wrong here? I'm used to Uk-style parking spaces, which are way tighter than Japanese ones because it's considerate not to hog more space than you need to park your car. If you left so much dead space between you and other vehicles as people do here, other drivers would crucify you. So reversing in is to me just a practical response. Also, where I come from, you learn to leave the car as well parked as possible - neither shunted up against the car in front or behind. It's also a thing of being considerate - you also try to avoid blocking in the next person. Maybe that's what Japanese might call "manners". You also leave equal space front and back for your own protection, to lessen the risk of getting blocked in, or worse, people using your bumpers to shoe-horn themselves in and out of a space.

But anyway, as getting into and getting out of a parking space are two separate manoevres, what on earth has the way you park got to do with the way you leave? Reversing out where you have this massive blind spot is asking for trouble. Even here, would they give a licence to anyone who tried to reverse out of a parking space during their driving test? Why are they even having this conversation?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The less people are allowed to understand, adapt to, and manipulate their environments, the more inept they become.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The driver, referred to in the video as a “paper driver” since she holds a valid license but does not actually drive (you’d be surprised how many people like this live in urban areas), admits that she has trouble reversing into parking spaces.

holds a valid license but does not actually drive

wow this statement seems pretty catchy to me. In the Philippines and other countries as well, this is a common practice for some teenage and young adults. how amazing Japan has it too. haha
0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you think drivers are bad in Japan come to America. They let anyone drive here with only a token test. The parking spots here are huge!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

YuriOtani-you are 100% correct....ever see the driver's in Florida? Scary.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

volland - drive tests in Japan are actually quite difficult, and many Europeans don't pass it the first time they try.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm sorry, but I don't see how there is such a high chance of backing into passing traffic or people when exiting a spot that you pulled into front-end first. A simple look around your area before you get into your vehicle to look for potential traffic/pedestrians and being careful when backing out is easy enough. We don't back into parking spots in Canada and vehicles/people getting hit by people backing out of parking spots is not a nationwide epidemic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites