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Valet: Just Do It!

Frank L. Giles

I recently had a chance to work a full shift as a valet. I don’t mean manage the operation or supervise a valet team—I mean park and pull cars for customers Sport shoes isolated on whitebefore making that mad dash back to the station. Gettin’ back to maroots! Needless to say, the experience was both exhilarating and exhausting. I thought I was out of shape before, but now I know.

What I gained from the experience other than some sore muscles was a healthy respect for the athletic component of valet. I even think they should have their own shoe. Imagine for a second, an inconspicuous all-black running shoe complete with arch support and traction. It could simply be called “The Valet.” I would buy a pair. I fact, it might be a good way to insure complete uniformity of the operation.

So how about it Nike or Reebok, why not take advantage of this untapped market of parking athletes? Just be sure to send me my cut.

Piloted Parking

Isaiah Mouw

An estimated 10 million vehicle accidents occur each year and many of them take place while parking. Audi thinks they’ve found a solution with their piloted parking system. Similar to the Google driverless car, the Audi parking system will rely on ultrasound or cameras affixed to the vehicle to locate empty parking spaces within a garage or parking lot and conveniently park itself without a driver. You have to watch this video to truly appreciate it. It can even parallel park.

Benefits to the driver include saving time, fewer accidents, and not having the Seinfeld moment of losing one’s vehicle in a garage, as the vehicle will return to the driver with a simple tap of a button on one’s smartphone. In the not so distant future, anxious teenagers will no longer have to worry about parallel parking in front of an intimidating driver instructor; they’ll just have to know how to operate their phone. Questions from parking professionals are numerous, from how this will work in a controlled environment, how to stop it from parking in reserved spaces, protocols for an accident, and what happens in the always-humorous “standoff” situations.

Many argue that the freedom and fun in being able to step on the gas pedal and speed down a highway outweighs any benefits of a driverless car, but few would be against avoiding the drive through a busy garage to locate a parking space. One thing is for sure: technology like this will more than likely dominate the roads in the next decade, making me think how this will affect our industry, specifically valet and parking access and revenue control systems.