Planet China

Nanjing’s robotics drive

Last week a single car parking space in a high-end apartment building in Hong Kong sold for HK$5.18 million ($664,000). That topped a record set last year of $615,000. But across the border in mainland China another story about a car park had a very different theme, illustrating instead China’s advances in robotics. China Daily reports that a new car park in Nanjing will be managed by two robots, who will look after the 57 parking spaces. Shenzhen Yeefung Automation Technology, which developed the robotic operating system, is employing it for the first time in a car park by a shopping mall. Drivers will park their vehicles on the first floor and the robots – described as “flat platforms on wheels” – will assess the cars’ size and weight and then take them to a space on an upper floor via a special elevator. The robots will then park the cars using laser alignment. “If the garage had enough space, 100 robots could work at the same time without collisions,” the company’s technical director told the newspaper. The car park will open next month after three years of research and testing. Spaces can be booked via a smartphone app, with the company saying that the robots can return cars to their owners in around three minutes.

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