If you have ever lived in, worked in, or visited New York City, and had to get around by car, you understand what a hassle parking in the city can be. So I was considerably intrigued the other day to read an article heralding the opening of a new robotic parking garage in the Big Apple.
Don't worry -- the system doesn't demand that you turn your keys over to a robot.. Instead, your car is placed on a pallet, and a robotic contraption efficiently whisks the automobile away for safe storage.
As cool as that is, it's not what caught my attention. Instead, I was surprised to learn that the robotic system, built by Automation Parking Systems, is so efficient that it can fit 67 cars in a space that normally only holds 24. It is able to do this not only by packing cars closer to one another (there is no need to leave space to open a car door) but also because it can do away with ramps and other superfluous maneuvering space.
When you consider that it costs roughly $25 a day to park in New York City, then multiply that figure by the number of additional cars such a system can handle, you get some idea of how robots might possibly make a solid long-term investment.
All across the emerging field of robotics, similar opportunities for cost savings are emerging. It's well-known (at least on these pages) that Intuitive Surgical's
In more practical terms, this means shorter hospital stays and fewer nurses to watch over the patients. It also suggests that the hospital can make more doctors (and beds) available to serve other patients.
The same is true of other robots. For instance, iRobot's
My recommendation: Consider some modest investments in the emerging field of robotics, then park those investments away. By helping other businesses "do more with less," they themselves are likely to prosper. In so doing, they could end up helping you squeeze a little more out of your portfolio. For assistance in analyzing such companies, check out a free 30-day trial of Motley Fool Rule Breakers, where we are always looking at innovative companies in emerging technologies.
Interested in other robotic foolishness? Check out these articles:
- The Circle of Life, With Robots
- Small Visions of the Future
- Robots on the Brain
- Are Intuitive Surgical and iRobot Just Babies?
Fool contributor Jack Uldrich would rather trust his car to a robot than to a pimply-faced teenager. He owns stock in both Intuitive Surgical and iRobot, which are both Rule Breakers recommendations. The Fool has a strict disclosure policy.