Parkie is a robot valet that will park your car for you

Hands-free parking

Parkie render
(Image credit: HL Mando)

While CES is a huge show for traditional mainstream tech, like speakers and TVs, it's also a playground for more blue-sky ideas that might come out of left field. 

One such example that's gaining traction at this year's show is Parkie, a parking robot that can take control of a car from underneath, to manoeuvre it perfectly into a parking spot for its driver. 

From the minds at HL Mando, Parkie looks like a low plank of metal until you take a closer look and see all the seams and smarts that it's hiding.

It effectively slides under your car and, from there, it's able to lift the whole vehicle just off the ground, in order to then roll it around without needing any access to the car's own systems or power.

Once lifted, Parkie can move the car into a parking spot that might be so tight that a human driver, or even an autonomous mode, would struggle to find an entry angle for.  

HL Mando says that this can allow parking lots to be redesigned with new layouts, since bays can be much smaller and tighter without the risk of human error when pulling in or out of them – freeing up around 30% more space for vehicles, according to its own estimates. 

The robot has a whole heap of sensors, unsurprisingly, to help it move around independently and avoid any obstacles, and effectively works like a valet – you'd summon your car from its parking spot and wait while Parkie goes to get it out for you. 

Like a fair few of the biggest innovations at CES, this won't be one that you can expect easy access to anytime soon – for now, it's being sold only to organisations, rather than private citizens. After all, it's really for parking lots rather than urban parking spaces, so you're unlikely to ever need one for home use. 

Still, this is a very fun glimpse at what feels like a pretty futuristic version of the parking lot experience - one that involves a lot less frustration at either a shortage of spaces or shortcomings in other drivers' parking abilities. 

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.