Advanced Parking Guidance System
Advanced Parking Guidance System (APGS) is an automatic parking system first developed by Toyota Motor Corporation in 2004 for its latest Lexus models and also the Japanese market hybrid Prius models. In Europe, the APGS is marketed as the Intelligent Park Assist system. On vehicles equipped with the APGS, via an in-dash screen and button controls, the car can steer itself into a parking space with little input from the user. The latest version of APGS helps determine that the car has enough clearance for a particular space, and calculates the steering maneuvers needed for parallel or reverse parking. In 2006, the APGS debuted for the first time on a luxury vehicle with the new Lexus LS, which featured the automatic parking technology among other brand new inventions from Toyota. This was the first appearance of the APGS in the United States and other countries.
How it works
On the Lexus LS, the Advanced Parking Guidance System uses computer processors which are tied to the Lexus Intuitive Park Assist (sonar warning system) feature, backup camera, and two additional forward sensors on the front side fenders. The Intuitive Park Assist feature includes multiple sensors on the forward and rear bumpers which detect obstacles, allowing the system to sound warnings and calculate optimum steering angles during regular parking. These sensors plus the two additional APGS sensors are tied to a central computer processor, which in turn is integrated with the backup camera system to provide the driver parking information.
When the Intuitive Park Assist feature is used, the processor(s) calculate steering angle data which are displayed on the navigation/camera touchscreen along with obstacle information. The Advanced Parking Guidance System expands on this capability and is accessible when the vehicle is shifted to reverse (which automatically activates the backup camera). When in reverse, the backup camera screen features APGS buttons which can be used to activate automated parking procedures. When the Advanced Parking Guidance System is activated, the central processor calculates the optimum parallel or reverse park steering angles and then interfaces with the Electric Power Steering systems of the vehicle to guide the car into the parking spot.
Parallel Parking with the APGS
A summary of the Lexus LS Advanced Parking Guidance System procedures for parallel parking follows. Please note that this is an unofficial summary, and should be treated as such.
- 1. Pull up alongside the parking space. Move forward until your vehicle's rear bumper passes the rear wheel of the car parked in front of the open space.
- 2. Shift to reverse. This will automatically activate the backup camera system, and the car's rear view will appear on dash navigation/camera touchscreen display.
- 3. Select the parallel park guidance button on the navigation/camera touchscreen. A grid will appear with green or red lines, a flag symbol representing the corner of the parking spot, and adjustment arrows.
- 4. Check to see if the representative box on the screen correctly identifies the parking space. If the space is large enough to park, the box will be green in color. If the box is incorrectly placed, or lined in red, use the arrow buttons to move the box until it turns green.
- 5. If the parking space is correctly identified, press OK. Take your hands off the steering wheel, while keeping your foot on the brake pedal.
- 6. Slowly release the brake, while keeping your foot on the brake pedal. The car will then begin to back up and steer itself into the parking space. If at any time the steering wheel is touched or the brake firmly pressed, the system will disengage. The vehicle also cannot exceed a set speed, or the system will deactivate.
- 7. "The guidance is finished." When the car's computer voice issues this statement, the APGS system has finished parking your car. You can now shift to drive and pull forward to make adjustments in the space if necessary.
Reverse Parking with the APGS
The reverse park procedure, as follows, is virtually identical to the parallel parking procedure. Please note that this is an unofficial summary, and should be treated as such.
- 1. Pull up next to the parking space. Move forward and turn your car, positioning it in place for backing into the reverse parking spot. The vehicle rear should be facing the reverse parking spot, allowing the backup camera to 'see' the parking area.
- 2. Shift to reverse. This will automatically activate the backup camera system.
- 3. Select the reverse park guidance button on the navigation/camera touchscreen. A grid will appear with green or red lines, a flag symbol representing the corner of the parking spot, and adjustment arrows.
- 4. Check the parking space and engage the reverse park procedure. Follow the same exact procedures as outlined in steps 4-7 of the parallel park procedure.
APGS in media
A video from CNBC showed the system working "quite effectively" with a first-time user  and other reviewers found that the APGS worked smoothly.  A video produced by Automobile Magazine demonstrates how the system makes parking more difficult, due to some complexity to the touchscreen.
Lexus capitalized on the debut of the APGS in the U.S. with its LS flagship with two ads. The first, "Pyramid," depicted a driver parking a car between two stacks of glasses using the APGS. A second ad showing a montage of different technologies, followed finally by a demonstration of the APGS, and a man stating that he never thought this technology could possibly exist.
Lexus' APGS has also been referenced by competitors Audi and Hyundai in their own advertisements. Audi marketed their 2007 A4 as "the luxury car for people who can park themselves," and showed a professional driver swing into a tight parallel parking space. Hyundai's advertisement for the 2007 Azera listed a side-by-side feature comparison between the Azera and the LS460, reaching a conclusion that although the Azera lacks automatic parking, the cost savings could easily go towards valet service.