Travelers rushing to fly out at Germany’s Düsseldorf Airport can now pay a robotic system named Ray to park and retrieve their cars. After a driver simply leaves their car in a designated spot, Ray uses sensors to photograph and measure the car, pick it up and transport it to one of 249 close-in parking spots. On a nearby touch-screen, passengers confirm to Ray that no one is still in the car and share details of their return flight. Ray then monitors flight schedules to calculate when a car should be retrieved for its owner. If a traveler’s itinerary changes, Ray can be contacted via an app.
“Some people think it’s too space age, but we think busy business travelers, especially, are ready for Ray,” said Thomas Nagel, a software engineer for Serva Transport Systems, which is testing the system at Düsseldorf Airport with air transport IT company SITA. “German people are very proud of their cars, but there’s insurance in case something goes wrong, and we haven’t ruined a car yet,” he said. The introductory rate for robot parking by Ray currently adds about $6 a day to the cost of garage parking at Dusseldorf Airport, which already tops $33 a day.