Citroen C4 Picasso's is the world's first car to feature integrated parking space measurement, according to Bosch, which supplies the driver assistance system.

The parking space measurement system is based on the supplier's parking assistant, which helps drivers avoid shunting other cars and obstacles while parking. Besides the standard four ultrasound sensors on the vehicle front and rear, two extra sensors have been added for parking space measurement, one on either side of the front bumper.

Parking space measurement is activated by a button on the steering wheel. The system establishes which side the space is on by identifying which turn signal is in use. While driving past - at a speed of up to 20km/h - the sensor then gauges the space. The assistant indicates to the driver via the central display whether the gap is big enough for the car, a tight squeeze, or simply too small. The same visual and acoustic signals that feature in the parking assistant then warn the driver of any obstacles. The system also works for parking spaces on a slight curve.

Automatic measurement enables smaller spaces to be used that the driver might otherwise reject as being too small.

Bosch will soon release more functional enhancements for its ultrasound-based parking assistant. At the beginning of 2008, a system will be going into production that will both measure the length of a space and suggest the best way to steer and manoeuvre into the space. A further development level in the same year will make it possible to directly control electrically supported steering - the driver will only need to operate the accelerator pedal and brake, while the parking assistant will take care of the steering.

Such systems - from another supplier - are already in use on the Lexus LS460 and optional on the Toyota Prius.

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