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2020 Hyundai Sonata. Photo: Courtesy of Hyundai

This week I'm driving the 2020 Hyundai Sonata, a car that purports to park itself.

Reality check: The heavily advertised "Smaht Pahk" feature has limited capability. Sure, it can pull itself head-on into a tight parking space and back out too, but that's about it.

How it works: A driver outside the vehicle uses the key fob to lock the car, hit the remote start button (although the car is already running), then hit a third button to drive forward into the parking space.

  • To pull out, it's basically the same process.
  • The driver must first align the car with the parking space; it doesn't position itself.
  • It backs out straight, too, which means users are likely blocking other cars until they get in and drive away.

For the record: Tesla's Summon self-parking feature allows users to push a button and the car will back itself out of the space and come to the driver.

My thought bubble: Hyundai's Remote Smart Parking Assist technology would be useful in an urban parking garage or at my neighborhood Kroger, where the spaces are especially tight and it's easy to get blocked in — but I don't think I'd pay a lot extra for it.

  • Luckily, the Sonata is packed with technology for a value price.
  • The entry-level SE starts at $23,400 and includes standard driver-assistance features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and emergency-stopping assist.
  • The premium Sonata Limited, which includes the parking assist technology, costs $33,300 and also lets you use your smartphone as a digital key to unlock, start and drive the car without a physical key.

The bottom line: The sensors that enable Hyundai's driver-assistance features are already on the car. Why not put them to work as parking valets too?

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”