A French startup company has developed an automated valet service operated by a robot. The robot, named Stan, doesn't require a customer's car keys - instead, it picks up your vehicle and takes it a secure car park. The system is also connected to the customer's flight details, so their car is ready to be picked up when they return, and it can also maximize space by double parking in front of vehicles that don't need to be picked up immediately. The robotic system, designed and developed by Stanley Robotics, has already been adopted by Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport. The company just raised $4 million (€3.6 million) from Elaia Partners, Bpifrance and Idinvest Partners.
Passengers heading to Gatwick airport and leaving their car there will soon have it whisked away by a robot valet. The fleet of droids will put cars closer to one another than is possible with human drivers and therefore be able to fit a third more cars in the same area. A trial is starting in August which will see customers leave their car in a drop-off zone before summoning a robot through a designated app. Military grade GPS will guide the machine to the car where forklift-like equipment will approach the car from the front, slide under the car's body and move it to a specific spot. Passengers heading to Gatwick airport and leaving their car there will soon have it whisked away by a robot valet.
The smart parking industry continues to evolve as an increasing number of cities struggle with traffic congestion and inadequate parking availability. While the deployment of sensor technologies continues to be core to the development of smart parking, a wide variety of other technology innovations are also enabling more adaptable systems--including cameras, wireless communications, data analytics, induction loops, smart parking meters, and advanced algorithms. The future of the smart parking market is expected to be significantly influenced by the arrival of automated vehicles (AVs). Several cities around the world are already beginning to trial self-parking vehicles, specialized AV parking lots, and robotic parking valets. For example, in Boulder, Colorado, ParkPlus is working on deploying the first fully automated parking garage in the Western United States through Boulder's PearlWest mixed-use development.
Tesla is pushing a software update that makes its latest cars as good as its older cars. AutoPilot 8.1 expands the autonomous capabilities of every Tesla sold in the past six months, making them more adept at cruising along on their own. Once downloaded and installed, the cars can steer themselves at up to 80 mph (up from 55 mph), squeeze into tight parking spaces, and change lanes when the driver clicks on the turn signal. Perhaps those skills sound familiar: Model S sedans and Model X crossovers that rolled out of the Tesla factory before October could do all of those things. Cars built in the past six months took a step backward when Tesla started installing more sophisticated hardware--gear CEO Elon Musk says could give the cars full autonomy one day--but not the software needed to use it.
That's where a new robotic parking system is being tested. That's short for Stanley Robotics, the Parisian startup that developed the technology and installed it at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport for its first public trial. First you pull your car into a drop-off area, enter your payment and return flight information into a kiosk, and lock the vehicle. Then, a wheeled electric robot -- basically an oversized pallet jack – rolls around and literally picks up your car by the all four tires with the type of cradles a modern tow truck uses. After that, it simply wheels it away to an open space, gently places it down, and comes back for another.