Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

I for one welcome our new robotic parking overlords

There's a new automated parking garage in New York.

Just drive in your car, leave it on a parking bay, and it'll be shuffled and stored underground in a set of docking bays reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica...
Nonetheless, the developers of the Chinatown garage are confident with the technology and are counting on it to squeeze 67 cars in an apartment-building basement that would otherwise fit only 24, accomplished by removing a ramp and maneuver space typically required.

A humanoid robot valet won’t be stepping into your car to drive it. Rather, the garage itself does the parking. The driver stops the car on a pallet and gets out. The pallet is then lowered into the innards of the garage and transported to a vacant parking spot by a computer-controlled contraption similar to an elevator that also runs sideways.


The two loading bays in the Chinatown garage are outfitted with enough laser and radar sensors to make Fort Knox jealous. They sense whether the car fits on the pallet (it’s large enough for medium-sized SUVs) and look for movement to determine whether the driver and passenger have left the car. When the car is properly parked on the pallet, the driver is told to exit the car and leave the bay, and a door closes behind him before the pallet descends into the garage.

When the driver comes back for the car, the underground system goes into motion to retrieve it. Because it parks cars two deep in some slots, it sometimes needs to shuffle cars around to retrieve others. The software figures all that out.

In a touch worthy of Inspector Gadget, an underground turntable turns the car around before it’s lifted to the surface, ensuring that it’s returned facing out into the driveway, eliminating any need to back out of the garage.
Let's hope it's a bit more successful than another robot garage, which ended up dropping cars down shafts, a saga which culminated in the operator suing the developer for the source code - trapping cars inside the garage while lawyers went into action.


Lawyers versus robots.

Now that's a B-movie I want to see...
Tags: cars, parking, robots
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