Meet RAY, An Autonomous Forklift For Parking Your Car


In busy, congested cities like New York or L.A., finding a parking spot can be both frustrating and wasteful, as drivings circle the block seeking out that sole overlooked nook where they can stash their car. With parking garages often coming at a premium fee, finding the right spot can get downright costly too. Wouldn’t it be easier if a robot just parked your car for you?

That’s the thinking behind RAY, an autonomous car parking robot currently being tested at the airport in Düsseldorf, Germany reports Jalopnik. Designed and built by Serva Transport Systems, RAY uses radar and other sensors to pick up and park your car in a warehouse-like parking garage.

The radar and sensor systems help RAY compute a car’s wheelbase, and it then lifts the car gently to transport it to an empty spot in a parking garage until your return. Because the doors don’t have to open where the vehicle is stored, more cars can be parked in a much smaller space, freeing up room for even more cars.

The system selects the best parking location based upon your travel plans and is always re-arranging cars to maximize parking capacity. When you return from your trip, you car is ready and waiting for you where you left it. That’s because RAY is always aware of flight delays and cancellations, or you can even communicate directly with the system using a  phone app if your travel plans change. That way, RAY knows exactly when to retrieve your vehicle and have it waiting for you.

249 parking spaces are involved in the initial test of the system at the Düsseldorf airport. Assuming RAY performs as expected and doesn’t make customers play a game of high tech hide and seek to get their cars back, the system will be expanded. So far, customer response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.