A number cars offer some kind of self-parking feature these days, but that tech as it currently stands amounts to little more than a parlor trick. A French startup called Stanley Robotics, however, has a new take on the idea: a little robot tug that tows your car around a lot and decides where to park it.
The autonomous electric-powered bot is named Stan. The company says that in a standard parking lot, a Stan could create 50 percent more parking spaces by placing cars more efficiently. While the company's website does not offer any specs, its clear these robots will be big boys, capable of pulling a car up to 20 feet in length and handling a 3-ton load.
In the promotion video, a human driver pulls into a parking stall and sets their car upon a kind of towable platform. One they take off, Stan comes along. It hooks onto the platform and tows the car to a different part of the lot, packing it in tightly beside a bunch of other vehicles.
The company debuted Stan in the parking lot of the airport in the French city of Lyon today, March 14. At the airport, 500 parking spaces are being dedicated to Stanley Robotics. Four Stans are pulling cars in and out of parking spots, booked at €52.20 (around $59), slightly more expensive than a regular week of parking. An apparent success, the company hopes to expand to 6,000 parking spots at the airport soon.
In a press statement, the company also says that a Stan robot could reduce "CO2 emissions by eliminating passenger vehicle traffic on parking lots." The company touts its green bonafides by saying that it is has won an Airport Carbon Accreditation, meaning that it offsets emissions within the airport itself.
"We are proud to be leading this operation with Aéroports de Lyon, and to be able to present to the world, for the first time, the operation of Stanley Robotics' outdoor valet robot service," says Clément Boussard, CEO, in the press statement. "We have designed the service to be the simplest and most enjoyable experience for the users. In addition, our solution meets the sustainable growth needs of our partners VINCI Airports and Aéroports de Lyon, which allows us to envisage long-term collaboration.”
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