It’s not clear there is a future for parking lots.  There are the ride hailing services: think Uber or Lyft to start.  Then there is Zipcar and hourly car rental systems.

But a Chinese company has come up with robotic parking just in case…

When the Chinese are not busy building artificial islands in the South China Sea, they apparently have devoted themselves to robotic parking systems.

The Chinese company is Hikvision and the video below does an excellent job explaining how their parking robots work.  From a human perspective, you drive your car into a lot on to an  inconspicuous platform, exit the car, ambulate (walk) away.  Return later, pay using a smartphone app at an automated payment machine… wait for your car to be delivered in front of you.

Even describing it in this stripped down language makes it sound more complicated than it is.  Watch the video!

The only obstacle we foresee is what we term the Valet Problem.

When you use a valet, you revel in the joy of not having to waste time parking your car.  Drop the Mercedes at the front door, and a Chardonnay is in your hands while thrifty souls are driving around looking for a parking space and then ambulating (walking) 100 feet in freezing sleet or 100 per cent humidity to the front door.  (Unless you live in San Diego like I do, and stroll through a permanently balmy climate… still you have to dodge other drivers trying to find parking places.

When you use a valet after several rounds of Chardonnay, you now have to wait while the valet recognizes you and fetches your car.  While all valets are 19 years old, former track & field champions and run like a bunny to your car (recalculate your tip, sir!) – you still have to wait.  It might be only five minutes, but you are still waiting.  And it’s still sleeting or sweltering or … you’re feeling too balmy.

Ha Ha! What were we talking about?  Oh… the Valet Problem.

So the robots have replaced valets.  You still have to wait for your car.  True, it may be fun to watch the robots perform on a giant screen as shown in the video.  The first time, it will be fun.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for these robots… and if there are personally owned and driven cars in the future, and you need to go to a popular mall or downtown (if there are still malls and downtowns), then this is the solution.  It’s inevitable.

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