Parking Assistant Helps Back Up The Car Without Going Too Far

Sure, [Ty Palowski] could have just hung a tennis ball from the ceiling, but that would mean getting on a ladder, testing the studfinder on himself before locating a ceiling joist, and so on. Bo-ring. Now that he finally has a garage, he’s not going to fill it with junk, no! He’s going to park a big ol’ Jeep in it. Backwards.

The previous owner was kind enough to leave a workbench in the rear of the garage, which [Ty] has already made his own. To make sure that he never hits the workbench while backing into the garage, [Ty] made an adorable stoplight to help gauge the distance to it. Green mean’s he’s good, yellow means he should be braking, and red of course means stop in the name of power tools.

Inside the light is an Arduino Nano, which reads from the ultrasonic sensor mounted underneath the enclosure and lights up the appropriate LED depending on the car’s distance. All [Ty] has to do is set the distance that makes the red light come on, which he can do with the rotary encoder on the side and confirm on the OLED. The distance for yellow and green are automatically set from red — the yellow range begins 24″ past red, and green is another 48″ past yellow. Floor it past the break to watch the build video.

The humble North American traffic signal is widely recognized, so it’s a good approach for all kinds of applications. Teach your children well: start them young with a visual indicator of when it’s okay to get out of bed in the morning.

24 thoughts on “Parking Assistant Helps Back Up The Car Without Going Too Far

  1. useful project but do not lock doors on vehicles with rag tops… It take nothing to silently tear the top and get into the vehicle so locking the doors does nothing but waste money and time.

    1. In Australia (NSW at least) it is illegal to leave your car unlocked and unattended irrespective of the type of top.

      but locking in a number of vehicles also enables the anit theft stuff/ activates the alarm etc.

      But I agree leaving the vehicle unlocked can save a lot of damage when all the cretins are likely to get is a handful of loose change…

  2. Our neighbor has a tennis ball hanging on a twine in his carport. When the ball is barely touching the window of the car, the parking position is perfect. But I admit, that this is too simple. Maybe the ball needs an IMU with IOT connectivity and an app.

    1. My dad nailed some strips of wood to the floor in the right place to gently stop the tires in the correct place.
      Which is probably for the best, because their dog would have stolen a tennis ball.

      1. It’s a joke. Besides a board in a wall, or (typically) a male dog or horse used for breeding purposes, a “stud” is what women (and some men) will call an attractive guy. By “testing the studfinder on himself”, if it reported there was a stud present, it would be an affirmation the man is attractive. Not all jokes translate across languages and cultures very well.

          1. Yes.
            The American white male is still a legal target for any and all insults according to the internet, especially if he happens to be fat.
            – A Fat American White Male (with tongue planted firmly in cheek)

        1. You can “prove” the “stud” finder works by placing it against a soft part of the body of the woman who is challenging that it really finds “studs”; and then placing it against the sternum of the man. The tool will detect the bone underneath the surface of the chest and light up.

          Do not place the stud finder against the woman’s body without first getting her permission to do so!

  3. I have tennis balls hung at the appropriate heights, but what I really need to develop is a device to enable my wife to park her car straight. But unless it’s a pair of 6″x6″ timbers bolted to the garage floor or a fully automated system installed in the car, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

    1. I mean…there’s also the option of just properly learning how to park a car.

      It’s like…I don’t get it. Even my wife could park my RHD car a month after getting her license for which she trained driving a LHD one (Germany, btw.)

      1. To be fair, my garage is tiny (Switzerland) and if I don’t get the car in just the right position I cannot easily get to the laundry room or close the garage door. This requires that I swing the car just a bit to the right when I get about 3/4 of the way in and get as close to the wall on the passenger side as possible without catching the rear wheel fender on the frame of the garage door. There’s a small stone embedded in the mortar on the wall that I use to know when to stop. Not the best system, but I haven’t had any issues going on 3 years now.

      2. Yeap … once upon a time drivers were able to park within a centimeter or two.
        Just by practice and learned skills.
        Valet parking pros are and were the absolute masters of that art.

        Regardless the driving but, this project is real good fun.
        Highly energetic presenter/developer.

  4. I used to have a 2×4 on the floor in my garage so the car was parked as far back as possible (the tow hitch against the door) to give me moore room to work on the workbench.
    One day someone moved it and my ex girlfriend did as usal let the car roll to a stop by itself.
    The sound haunts me to this day, I rushed to it, but it was just a wheelbarrel that was hurt in the accident.
    I bolted the 2X4 down after that

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