Would you let a robot park your car?

There are few technology trends more closely watched than that of driverless cars, but before that happens, robots will be parking your regular car.

A 12-storey residential building in Abu Dhabi is planning to open a car park with 110 spaces in which residents’ cars are parked and even cleaned by robots in the .

Designed by US company ParkPlus, the new system uses Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) to park the cars, scanning and taking pictures of vehicles to prevent damage. There is also an explosives detection system for security purposes and owners can opt to have their car cleaned in their absence before retrieving them via a kiosk.

ParkPlus already operates in Maryland, New York and New Jersey, including JFK Airport, Mount Sinai Hospital and various residential properties as well as in Shenzhen, China, where space is at a premium.

A video posted by Park Plus MENA () on Apr 28, 2015 at 7:26am PDT
Cyrus Hodes, managing director of ParkPlus Middle East, told The National the system was safer than other storage options.

“There’s never, ever going to be an accident because it’s a robot driving which knows to the exact centimetre where the spaces are,” he said. ”You’ve got multiple robots working and if part of a system breaks, the whole system carries on.”

In the event of a fire, the robots are programmed to approach and remove nearby cars to prevent it from spreading further.

Such a system also stands to reduce the amount of Co2 emissions generated by drivers searching for a parking space.

Similar storage systems are already being used across the UK, with a 21-vehicle capacity car park recently completed in London by , where cars are stored behind safety gates.

Automated parking systems have been in use since 1905, when an internal lift within a multi-storey in Paris ferried cars to upper levels to be parked by attendants.

In recent years Volvo has experimented with , which uses sensors and cameras to guide the vehicle into an available space. The technology has been integrated into the 2015 Volvo XC90, which the company claims can park itself in both parallel and bay situations.

A photo posted by Park Plus MENA () on Jan 18, 2015 at 10:38am PST
Studies have shown that robots tend to be more energy efficient than their human counterparts when it comes to parking. Self-parking cars were found to hit the curb than human drivers in a road test by the American Automobile Association (AAA), using 47 per cent few manoeuvres.

However, the association found that some automated systems were prone to parking cars too close to the curb, leaving the vehicles vulnerable to damage.

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