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Would You Let A Robot Park Your Car?

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A Futuristic Valet Service: Robot-Assisted Parking

You pull up to the curb and the valet is there to greet you. Instead of handing them your keys, you simply take your ticket, lock your doors, and walk away as the valet lifts your car by its wheels and totes it away, depositing it in a sea of vehicles packed so tightly together that no human driver could ever open a door to get in or out of them. The valet, a cheerful looking robot that is part tugboat, part tow-truck, logs your vehicle’s location in a central database and silently makes sure that no other vehicles will be blocking you in when you’re scheduled to pick up your vehicle.

Robot Valet Parking: Efficiency Redefined

This may sound like science fiction, but if you’re traveling to the Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport in France or London-Gatwick in the UK, you’ll see that it’s very much reality. And as these two early adopters continue to demonstrate the value and efficiency of the robot valet, it just might become commonplace wherever you travel.

Parking lots are always looking for ways to improve their efficiency, and these new robot valets are one of the most innovative solutions yet. By removing the need to open doors to get in or out of the vehicles, valet robots can store up to 50% more vehicles in a given space. This is a huge boost in capacity, one that would otherwise be impossible without significantly expanding the available parking area — a solution that isn’t always possible, let alone feasible.

Robo-Valets: Optimizing Parking with AI

The robo-valets work essentially like miniature tow trucks, sliding a lift beneath your vehicle and lifting it off the ground to transport it. Because no part of the robot is wider than the car it’s carrying, it is able to pack vehicles tightly together without fear of damaging them. The algorithms that power the robot work to optimize placement by maximizing capacity and minimizing the amount of movement needed to deposit and pick up vehicles.

Even if it takes a while for robot valets like this to fully catch on, there’s an interesting possibility in leveraging the AI behind them in order to optimize parking layouts while still keeping a human behind the wheel. This includes using AI-based “smart spaces” that can detect when they’re occupied by vehicles, and feed that data into a management platform in real time in order to optimize parking strategy. If you’re managing a parking lot or garage, this can dramatically simplify the decision-making process for placing vehicles in the right place to retrieve them later.

AI-Boosted Parking

And of course if you’re just looking for a place to park, AI-boosted parking algorithms are going to ensure that you have more options available. If a robo-valet system can increase a lot’s capacity by 50%, take a moment to imagine how much easier it will be to find parking when every lot has a system like that in place. Even without the robot valets, AI-assisted parking management will help lots to increase their capacities so that parking is easier to find, while also reducing wait times when picking up your vehicle.

Data-Driven Parking Optimization with AI

The more AI and robotics find their way into parking lots, the more data will be generated and the better the data-driven enhancements will become. As lots gather usage data, they’ll be able to leverage AI and predictive analytics to forecast occupancy rates and possible bottlenecks or busy times. This will include accounting for things like weather as well as time of day, and will help lot managers optimize the way they use their space — regardless of whether they have robot valets or not.

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