How Do Parking Sensors Work?

Parking Sensors 101

Most drivers will agree that parking is one of the trickiest things about driving. Sometimes people find themselves attempting to maneuver their vehicles back and forth multiple times before getting it right. Some give up on using their rearview and side mirrors entirely and go as far as sticking their head out the window to gauge the space around the car and know exactly where the rear and front bumpers are.

People who struggle with parking might not own a car that has modern features such as rearview mirror monitors and a parking sensor system. Parking sensors are proximity sensors for vehicles that alert the driver of obstacles when driving. The technology uses either electromagnetic or ultrasonic sensors. What does that mean you might ask? Keep reading to learn more.


Ultrasonic parking sensor systems calculate the proximity of your car from an object similar to the way bats and dolphins use echolocation. Ultrasonic sensors use high-frequency sound waves by emitting sound pulses that reflect off nearby objects. The frequency of the sound pulses is so high that you cannot hear them—although your dog will. The sensors connect to an alert system that warns you with acoustic tones when you’re getting too close to an object.


Parking sensors are best paired with backup cameras and rear view mirror monitors. The parking sensors alert you with sounds while the backup camera and rearview mirror monitors provide you with an unobstructed view of what’s behind you, enhancing blind spot visibility.

In 2018 the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) required that all new cars t have a backup camera with sensors. According to NHTSA, backup cameras and sensors will help avoid accidents that can be costly. The technology isn’t only used to help people park but to prevent injury and possibly even death.

While the new federal safety regulations will be enforced on new cars, you can still install the technology regardless of your vehicle type thanks to safety solutions providers and manufacturers. EchoMaster offers a comprehensive line of high-quality vehicle safety solutions such as parking sensors, cameras and monitors.