Some Things Are Better Left To Robots

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First, Lexus comes out with a car that can park itself, now [New York gets its first robotic parking garage]. What people dream up. This February, up to 67 cars will be squeezed in an apartment building basement in Chinatown that would normally only fit 24. The technology has been successful overseas, but the only other U.S. location hasnít exactly had an impressive track record. Built in 2002 in Hoboken, N.J., the garage dropped an unoccupied Cadillac Deville six floors in 2004 and a Jeep four stories the following year. Last year, [a malfunction trapped cars inside for 26 hours before it was fixed](,71554-0.html).

Hereís how it works: The driver stops the car on a pallet and gets out. The pallet is then lowered down into the bowels of the garage and gingerly placed into a vacant parking space by a computer-controlled contraption like an elevator that can also move sideways. OK, OK, itís not quite as cool as if one of those I, Robot dudes greeted you and snatched your keys, but still. Thereís no human interaction or supervision but there will be one living, breathing, heart-beating Homo sapien handy if you get confused and, of course, to take your moneyówho would trust a robot to do that? Parking rates will be around $400 a month or $25 a day, which actually isnít that bad if you consider yourself lucky to be the guinea pig for this cutting-edge technology. If you figure youíre paying to test out someoneís rather untested experiment, then I guess thatís a pretty steep price to pay.

Photo courtesy of [Eliya on Flickr

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