Thursday, June 26, 2014

Enterprises TV Has Found the Perfect Valet: a Robot Named Ray

Enterprises TV notes that if you're flying out of Dusseldorf Airport anytime soon, you can park your car, or have it parked, by the airport's best valet, Ray.  Ray is a machine that scoops up your vehicle and stacks it in a safe spot in a garage that can handle almost 300 cars ...  but only if they're put there by Ray.  Ray is a full-sized automated system that measures the car by laser rangefinders and picks it up delicately in order to file it in one of the parking bays.  The process begins with a complete photo scan of the car to document the scratches and dings that were there to begin with.  Security is total, since the driver never gives up possession of the keys.  If you forget something in the car and need it retrieved, don't expect that to be a quick procedure -- it can mean a missed flight.

Enterprises TV watches as automation takes over the last of the big-tip jobs, parking valet.

The Enterprises TV show has seen a lot of attempts to automate car parking.  In some expensive high-rise condos, notably in Manhattan where space is scarce, there are automobile-sized elevators that will lift the owner's car to his or her own floor.  There have been automated parking systems for cars and boats that resemble a giant ferris wheel, with the cars going for the fun ride.  One does need to ask, though, with the huge expense of these vehicle-handling robots, is all of this worth it?  How expensive is it to hire a few valets at minimum wage and let them make the bulk of their income from tips?  The answer may lie in how much damage human valets typically do to the owner's cars, to which the garage management ends up being liable.

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