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It is early in the morning; so early, in fact, that the sun hasn’t even risen yet. You arrive at the airport, enter the car park, and use your smart phone to let the parking attendant know you have dropped your vehicle off. It all sounds pretty normal so far. However, as you walk through the car park on your way to the terminal, something strange happens. A robotic forklift arrives to scoop up your car and automatically transport it to an open space.

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction films. In reality however, what we have described is now taking place at Germany’s Düsseldorf Airport. We just have one question: does the robot need a forklift truck licence in order to work?

All kidding aside, the technologically advanced system is pretty incredible to see in action. It uses highly advanced computers and a laser guidance system to find its way around the garage. The laser system also makes it possible for the robot to accurately measure the dimensions of any vehicle in order to safely lift and move it. Upon arrival, the robot assesses the vehicle in question, lifts it from the tarmac, and carries it to the desired space.

Customers hail the robot with a simple smartphone app. The app can also be used to retrieve your car upon your return. If your travel plans change, you can alert the system to those changes as well. However, it gets even better. The system is also tied into the computers of the various airlines so that the robot will know in advance to prepare your car for retrieval. That way you will not have to wait for hours while it shuffles things around looking for your vehicle.

Forklifts Will Never Be the Same

As technology marches on it has become apparent that the old-school forklift will never be the same. Nevertheless, we doubt an automated system like the one they are using in Germany will ever make its way to the manufacturing floor. Especially if human workers are still on the floor as they are now. Automated systems would be too risky to share floor space with humans.

Human forklift operators can be just as risky if they are not trained properly. Therefore, even though the law does not currently require operators to have a forklift truck licence to work, training your operators is still a very good idea. Remember that the law does require your company to take all reasonable measures to ensure worker safety. Forklift driver training is considered a reasonable measure.

We invite you to consider sending your drivers to us for their forklift training. The HGV Training Centre has been offering forklift training throughout the UK for a number of years. Our training focuses on the safe operation of forklift trucks in a number of commercial environments. We would be happy to train your drivers according to the latest standards of safety and productivity. Just contact us for more details.


Huffington Post UK – http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/03/robot-valet-car-park_n_5554308.html


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