A robot valet named Ray has started parking cars at the airport and can be booked with a smartphone. The best part? Ray doesn't even need to enter the car.
Here's how it works: Travelers park their car in a designated pickup spot and use their smartphone to tell Ray the car is empty and ready to be parked. Ray, acting like a forklift, picks up the car and delivers it to one of 249 parking spaces reserved for the robot.
Ray calculates the position of the car's wheels and measures other key parts such as the wing mirrors and the bumper. Ray has four wheels that turn a full 360-degrees. Approaching from the side, Ray picks up the car by sliding one set of its forks each under its front and rear wheels.
According to the Daily Mail, "Software divides up the area to make sure cars make the best possible space, for example by parking cars of a similar size together. Ray can reshuffle the arrangement of cars at any time if it realised that a different arrangement would make more efficient use of the space."
Ray can lift any car that does not weigh more than 3 metric tons. It costs 29 euros ($39.43) each day, but might be well worth the time saved, especially when running late.
Thomas Koetter, a spokesman for Duesseldorf airport, tells the Associated Press that the valet service targets "busy business travelers but is open to anyone."