The question "would you trust a robot to park your car?" is a hard one for me. On one hand, robots like the EverR-2-Muse, the world's first entertainer robot, are amazing. On the other hand, can she be trusted to park my precious wheels? While I could ramble about hypothetical robot control and abilities until the cows come home, the dilemma of whether or not to give up your car keys to robots is very real to some New Yorkers as the city's first robotic parking opens this month in Chinatown.
Apparently, the technology has worked overseas, but the only other public robotic garage in the United States has been troublesome, dropping vehicles and trapping cars because of technical glitches. According to the AP, 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 normally required. How does it work?
To quote the AP: A humanoid robot valet won't be stepping into your car to drive it. 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 space by a computer-controlled contraption similar to an elevator that also runs sideways. Parking rates will be about $400 monthly or $25 per day.