Technology has given us all kinds of handy tools for helping us find our car in a busy parking lot. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? No, we’re not talking about self-driving cars, but rather a new automated car parking and retrieval service that essentially functions as a robot valet.
Created by New Jersey-based startup U-Tron, the automated garage system is designed for high-end housing developments and apartment buildings. It allows drivers to pull in off the street, get out of their cars, and then let robots sort out the rest of the parking rigamarole. To retrieve their car, users then load up an app on their smartphone and select the vehicle they want to retrieve. (So long as it belongs to them, that is!) Do this around the time you shut your front door and, with any luck, your car should be ready and waiting by the time you get to the garage.
“[Our] automated parking system is a computer-controlled array of robots that [transfers] the vehicle from the bay room entry point to a parking position and vice versa, without any human intervention,” Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Yair Goldberg told Digital Trends. “The system is controlled by an automated parking management software that ‘conducts’ the orchestra of robots. It is a valet system without the valet. The management software allows for the highest level of user interface and connectivity to dedicated apps and building systems, resulting in an experience that transforms parking to an amenity.”
As attention-grabbing as the idea of a robot valet is, however, in some ways the whole “have your car transported by a robot” concept is really a side attraction. The big problem this system aims to solve is the space issue endemic in most city-based parking lots. A technology like this aims to dramatically reduce the space required for vehicular access to parking space since it eliminates requirements for ramps, turning radiuses, clearances for opening doors, and other previous necessities. Where required, it can even use smart stacking technology to rack up cars like some kind of ultra luxurious vending machine; ready to be recalled at a moment’s notice.
“In all case,s it is a tool in the hands of the architect for a better, greener building design, which results in a superior user experience,” Goldberg said.
The applications for such automated parking systems vary from residential, commercial, retail, and office environments, with different solutions available for different uses. So start petitioning the boss at your office — unless you happen to be wealthy enough to require a personal multi-car garage, that is!