I detest big parking stations. All that endless driving around looking for a space only to find some prat has parked badly and taken two spaces with his or her four-wheel drive that has never seen a gravel road, let alone a steep mountain climb, or the wally that has parked diagonally across two spaces because they are totally devoid of any spatial awareness or are just lazy bastards.
Or those parking stations that have spaces that were designed for small cars in the 60s that allow you to drive in but make it next to impossible to get out of your vehicle without performing contortions that would get you a lead role in Cirque Soleil.
Some of you may have experienced shopping mall car parks in Thailand, where you can park virtually anywhere as long as you leave your car in neutral and handbrake off so other drivers can push it out of the road to extricate their own vehicles. It’s not fun watching pregnant women, old people and mothers with young babies attempting this on their own.
Then we have those “intelligent” parking establishments that have sensors above each space and a green light to indicate your car’s resting place. They even have little signboards with arrows to guide you to the floors that have two free spaces that inevitably have a faulty sensor, a motor bike or a plastic car sitting in them.
Then we have those wonders of modern science: the purpose-built towers that have special platforms you drive onto, exit the vehicle and then watch it magically flown to a vacant slot up high and gently pushed in – all the while praying that you applied the handbrake before hopping out or that you didn’t forget your shopping bag or purse in there. These are quite fantastic, but the cost of building them is usually reflected in the price of the parking, which is also quite fantastic.
But never fear! Technology has finally come to our aid in the form of the car parking robot that can, it seems, be utilized in any existing parking station that has a smooth floor. Devised by Chinese parking technology specialist Hikvision (yes, that is the real name), the parking robot appears to be the answer to all our dreams.
If you don’t believe me, just take a look at this video that must surely have been inspired by Amazon’s warehouse robots. Don’t worry about the Chinese signage, you’ll get the gist of it.