From New York Times:
It seemed like the perfect night life accessory for the South Beach set — an automated robotic parking garage where trendy clubgoers could park their Porsches with a futuristic touch of a button.
Forget hiding your GPS and favorite Fendi sunglasses from a valet who might ding your new alloy wheels; this garage would park cars itself.
Instead, malfunctions lasted for hours. Cars were smashed, and faulty machinery fell several stories to the ground. Sometimes vehicles were stuck for so long that garage operators had to pay for customers’ taxis... ( full story )
The ST Robotics Workspace Sentry robot and area safety system are based on a small module that sends an infrared beam across the workspace. If the user puts his hand (or any other object) in the workspace, the robot stops using programmable emergency deceleration. Each module has three beams at different angles and the distance a beam reaches is adjustable. Two or more modules can be daisy chained to watch a wider area. "A robot that is tuned to stop on impact may not be safe. Robots where the trip torque can be set at low thresholds are too slow for any practical industrial application. The best system is where the work area has proximity detectors so the robot stops before impact and that is the approach ST Robotics has taken," states President and CEO of ST Robotics David Sands.