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As someone who feels lonely when his car doesn’t have a clutch pedal, the seemingly inevitable march towards self-driving automobiles isn’t exactly my favorite technological trend. Convenience is all well and good, but I can’t help but feel sorry for future generations that may never know the joy of a crisp-shifting manual transmission, or the amazing stress-relieving properties of a quick blast to redline.

Of course, there’s no pleasure to be found in navigating through a crowded parking lot hunting for a space. That’s why Honda is looking to take this task off drivers’ hands with an automatic valet parking system.

Excluding closed circuit wipeouts such as flipping your ride at Suzuka Circuit’s Casio Triangle, parking at a shopping center has to be one of the most unpleasant automotive experiences. If you take a spot close to the entrance, you can count on your car getting dinged as the drivers next to you return to their cars, their hands occupied by shopping bags, and carelessly open their doors with their hips. Alternatively, you can choose a safer space at the back of the lot, but then you end up with a long walk, which is sort of the whole thing you’re trying to eliminate by driving.

Engineers at Honda took notice of this dilemma, and are hard at work on a system that will let your car park itself, plus come pick you up when you’re ready to go home. Drivers simply pull up to a terminal, exit their vehicle, input the proper commands, and their car automatically slides into an empty spot in the lot.

▼ A presenter from Honda demonstrates the efficiency the company is known for by simultaneously explaining how the user interface works and flipping off the camera.

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▼ Look Ma, no driver!

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The system is even able to park multiple cars at the same time, taking into account their relative positions in order to prevent collisions.

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Honda’s self-parking cars can even detect and avoid objects that suddenly dart across their path, such as the rubber ball used in the demonstration.

▼ Meaning that parking lot kickball enthusiasts can continue to enjoy their favorite pastime (their lack of common sense is still likely to get them killed in other scenarios, unfortunately).

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The system, which Honda is hoping to have finished by 2020, works by combining data from the car’s rear-view camera with visuals from camera mounted in the parking lot, creating a map of the area and directing the car to empty spaces marked on the ground.

The system’s best feature, though, comes into play once you leave the store. By tapping the “call” button on the terminal’s screen, your car will dutifully pull up to the curb and pick you up, saving you the hassle of carrying your heavy bags without even asking for a tip.

The panel has also has a button marked “Emergency!” which the engineers in the video never talk about. While the most logical theory is that it immediately stops all cars controlled by the system, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it actually sends your car back into the store to pick up the milk you forgot to buy.

▼ Come on Honda, we know you can do this.

Source, video: Diginfo