Audi Has Self-Driving Parking Robots Working As Valets

Audi Ray Robost 1 photo
Photo: Audi
Audi is looking to build tomorrow’s intelligent factory and as a first step, the Ingolstadt-based carmaker is testing two robots that can independently transport cars from production to a temporary storage area.
In other words, Audi just invented the robot-valets that can handle cars better than any human can do. However, the robots are not actually driving the car as you may think. The whole operation is more of a lift and drag affair. However, the company is looking at other ways it could use robots to boost their facilities’ efficiency.

Here’s how the pilot test goes: two robots take the cars from production lines to a separate storage area. From there, the same robots take the cars and sort the Audis according to their shipping destinations.

“The autonomous transport of our automobiles could allow us to eliminate long walking distances for our employees and to improve the ergonomics of their work. Systems like this also have the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of our processes,” explained Hubert Waltl, Board of Management Member for Production at Audi AG.

The two robots are called Ray and are made of a six-meter long (20 ft), three-meter (10 ft) wide frame that uses sensors to read the position and dimensions of a car. After that, the robots adjust to the car’s size, grip the wheels and lift the car up to 10 cm (3.9 in).

This allows quick moving and temporary storing cars up to 5.3 meters (17.4 ft) long. Once there are enough cars going in the same place have gathered in the sorting area, the Ray robots start their second task, which is moving them into place for shipping.
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