Many of us have experienced the frustration of driving around in search of a parking spot for what seems like hours only to find some ***hole who decided to double-park because, well, they have a BMW. And don’t get me started on those @#!? whose parallel-parking skills are so poor they take up otherwise two perfectly spaced spots. Sigh.
Developed by European researchers and led by Democritus University of Thrace in Greece, the Autonomous Vehicle Emergency Recovery Tool (AVERT) system was designed to move vehicles suspected of carrying explosives or other hazardous materials without the need for human intervention. Even if a car is parked precariously in locations that traditional bomb-disposal robots have difficulty accessing, AVERT can easily access the vehicle and move it to a safer location.
AVERT robots the future of parking?
AVERT consists of a main robot with an onboard computer that can autonomously map its environment and tell another tailing sidekick to deploy a pair of smaller, flat-shaped robots no larger than an A4 sheet to coordinate their placement underneath a car. Once the wheels are secured, these robots simply lift the car an inch up off the ground and move it to any desired destination. As you can see in the video, these robots can move in almost any direction, making them perfect for accessing cars in difficult-to-reach places. These smaller robots include an array of sensors, a digital camera and two lasers that help them navigate past most obstacles.
Although designed for law enforcement to assist in bomb removal, it’s not far fetched to say that someday soon these robots will also provide commercial parking services, especially for larger hotels and amusement venues.
The AVERT system will be showcased in Seattle on May 26th to 30th at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation.