How does the Parking Sensor Works?

How does the Parking Sensor Works?

Parking a vehicle is a challenging and essential skill of a driver. Because the driver has to access the space around the car, and he/she must know the effective use of rear view and side mirror. However, nowadays parallel parking or reverse parking is an effortless task due to the establishment of the car-parking sensor. These sensors have enabled the drivers to park their vehicles without hitting any other vehicle. 

What is a parking sensor?

The parking sensors are proximity sensors and enable the driver to assess the obstacle while parking. The car parking sensors are inserted at the rear bumper of the vehicle. Although some cars have proximity/parking sensors on their front bumper and this system provides electromagnetic signals or sound waves along the direction of the vehicle. 

If the driver is using a reverse gear, then these sensors give the path toward the back of the car. If there is an obstacle, then the driver will be notified by an alarm. 

Type of parking sensors

There are two types of parking or proximity sensors in most of the vehicles. 

  • Ultrasonic proximity sensors
  • Electromagnetic proximity sensors
  1. Ultrasonic proximity sensors

These sensors determine the distance between the sensor and an accessible obstacle. These car-parking sensors are inserted at the rear bumper of the car. In some vehicles, ultrasonic proximity sensors are invisible so that they do not disturb the overall appearance of the car. 

These sensors transfer acoustic pulses. 

A small computer is responsible for determining the time between the sending of the pulse and its return to the sending unit. Then the computer takes split seconds to examine the distance between the car and the accessible object. 

This technology is based on echolocation. Bats use echolocation to find the food in the dark. They produce sound from their mouth and noses, and then these sound waves strike with the object and produce echoes. These echoes will reflect back to bat’s ears. The ultrasonic proximity sensors work on this same principle. 

This is attached to an audible alarm system. If the distance between the sensor and the object is less, then it will quickly produce the beeping sound. Some vehicles also generate pictographs of the signal’s intensity on their display screen. The object will be very close to an obstacle if the pictograph is complete. 

  1. Electromagnetic proximity sensors

These sensors transfer the electromagnetic frequencies that will detect every object in the path of the device as these sensors have an extensive range of wavelengths over the electromagnetic spectrum. So, they can identify different types of objects without the restrictions of ultrasonic sensors. These car-parking sensors address the limitations of ultrasonic sensors and determine more varied objects than ultrasonic proximity sensors.

Cars that have this feature come with the camera as well. When you are doing reverse parking, the display screen gives the full view of the backside. This will make reverse parking very easy, and it is the most effective way to park a car. 

How car-parking sensor works

The working of the car-parking sensor includes an electromagnetic and ultrasonic principle. Whenever the car is in reverse gear, then the parking sensors will be activated automatically and transfer the ultrasonic signals. These signals hit the accessible obstacle, immediately bounce back and captured by the parking sensors. 

During the transferring and recapturing of signals, the computer will measure the distance between the sensor and obstacle. When the car moves toward the object, then the alarm produces the sound to keep the driver alert. Some of the vehicles have an in-built camera so that they will get an accurate vision of the surrounding area. 


There are the following advantages of the car-parking sensor.

  • These sensors have made parking very easy, especially for learners. 
  • They decrease the driver’s fatigue during the car parking.
  • Increase the driver’s confidence.
  • Reduces the chances of damage to a car or other objects.
  • These sensors help the driver to park in the congested areas. 
  • These sensors have reduced the incidents as wells.
  • Theses sensors have cut down the parking struggles and prevent bumping into other’s cars.


There are some limitations to this technology. The sensor needs to be inserted on the bumper of the vehicle so that it can access an object effectively. As ultrasonic parking sensors can detect the objects on their position relative to the ground so, there will be objects that are not detectable through this sensor. 

It is not able to identify those objects that are below the line of sight. Moreover, it cannot detect those objects that are soft or have dampening qualities. If your car has only an ultrasonic parking sensor, then you need to be careful so that you do not hit anything. 

Electromagnetic parking sensor cannot detect an object that is flat, vertical, or extremely thin. When the surface is covered with snow or mud, then the sensor fails to determine an obstacle. 

Tips for using parking sensors

The tips for using parking sensors are:

  • Although car-parking sensors are beneficial, you should not always depend on these sensors as they can also experience malfunctioning. You should know the use of the side and rear mirror so that you can park a car effectively.  
  • You must keep the sensors clean and free from debris so that there is no hurdle in the transferring and receiving of these signals. Dirt and snow can deteriorate the functioning of these sensors. 
  • You must know the alarm system in your car. The frequency of these tones will be more if you are closer to an obstacle. So, you must know how close you can go to an object. 


The car-parking sensor helps you in-car parking, whether you are an experienced or a novice driver. Regardless of the size of the car or parking area, these sensors minimize driver’s efforts while parking a car. 

You can move quickly in traffic and can park a vehicle in congested areas through these sensors. It will also save your money by preventing incidents. However, these sensors cannot replace the driver’s ability, which is very important for safe driving. 


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