Parallel Parking Mathematics - Attempt 2 (Dec 16, 2009)

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A demonstration of the mathematics behind a somewhat widely publicized story British Mathematician Perfects Parallel Parking (Dec 15, 2009).

Drag the sliders to vary each of the following parameters. Press the pause button in the lower left corner to stop animation.

  • (alpha): angle at which car backs straight into parking spot
  • k: distance from front axle to front bumper
  • l: wheel base (distance between front and rear axles)
  • r: curb-to-curb turning radius
  • w: width that adjacent cars extend from curb (including any space from curb)
  • w_0: width of car to be parked
  • j: distance from rear axle to rear bumper

It may take a moment for the Java applet to load below. Go ahead and "accept" if prompted. The alert sounds threatenting, but it's safe. Dude, trust me.

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  • Car backs up in a straight line at an angle, and then turns hard toward the curb and pulls forward until parallel to curb.
  • Center of rotation lies on the same line as the rear axle.
  • Curb-to-curb turn radius r is the distance between the center of rotation and the center of the outer front tire's outer wall.

Jerome A White, December 16, 2009, Created with GeoGebra