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South Korean firm develops autonomous parking robot

By Jeong Hyeon-hwan & Kim Tae-gyu, UPI News Korea
HL Mando Executive Vice President Chio Sung-ho (L) explains the company’s autonomous parking robot to Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Bang Moon-kyu (2R). Photo courtesy of HL Mando
HL Mando Executive Vice President Chio Sung-ho (L) explains the company’s autonomous parking robot to Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Bang Moon-kyu (2R). Photo courtesy of HL Mando

SEOUL, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- South Korea's HL Mando said it has developed a valet parking robot that is scheduled for field testing early next year.

HL Mando said Friday the autonomous robot, called Parkie, will require no outside help in parking various types of automobiles, including sports cars and sport utility vehicles.

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The robot, a 3.5-inch-high flat platform, can sense a vehicle's weight and the distance of the wheelbase, as well as the vehicle's plate number and road conditions before parking the car, the company said.

HL Mando, a components manufacturer for electric cars and self-driving vehicles, said testing would start in April at a startup hub south of Seoul.

Parkie is powered by Level 4 autonomous driving technology, meaning it requires no human supervision.

"Once commercialized, Parkie valet parking system is expected to be 20% cheaper to run than the conventional way," an HL Mando official told UPI News Korea.

"Parkie will have the effect of transforming city parking lots into intelligent spaces, thus increasing the value of the parking spaces and users' convenience," he said.

The company said pilot test results will be evaluated next year.

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"Autonomous parking systems in open-air environments are relatively easy to achieve. But they are really hard to realize indoors. In that sense, new robots like Parkie could have a big potential," Daelim university automotive Professor Kim Pil-soo said.

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