Jan 30, 2019

An automated parking startup wants to transform cities

U-tron's automated parking garage packs cars close together. Photo: U-tron

Cars might not be able to drive themselves just yet, but they can already park themselves in some cities.

Why it matters: Automated parking, just now being rolled out as a way to save space and money in crowded cities, will become increasingly important once plug-in autonomous vehicles hit the streets by giving them a place to stop and recharge between rides.

What's happening: U-tron, the automated parking division of Israeli automation company Unitronics, has 8 robot garages up and running in New York, New Jersey and California, with 25 more in development around the country.

  • Today, drivers pull into a bay then vacate the car and the robot takes over. Someday, AVs will drive into the bay themselves.
  • U-tron's system can pack cars 4 inches apart, with 6 inches of overhead clearance.
  • Packing cars like sardines allows developers to accommodate 2–3 times as many vehicles as a normal garage.
  • Without human intervention, robot garages generate savings on labor, ventilation and lighting costs.
  • It takes about 5 minutes to summon and retrieve a parked car from a loading bay.

What's next: U-tron EVP Yair Goldberg says the company is talking with major automakers to make sure its parking robots can communicate with their driving robots.

Go deeper: How self-driving cars will help solve America’s parking problem

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World coronavirus updates: Spain's health care system overloaded

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Two planes with protective equipment arrived to restock Spain’s overloaded public health system on Wednesday as confirmed cases surpassed 100,000 and the nation saw its biggest death toll so far, Reuters reports.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 900,000 and the global death toll surpassed 45,000 early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported more than 12,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 28 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 926,095 — Total deaths: 46,413 — Total recoveries: 193,031Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 209,071 — Total deaths: 4,633 — Total recoveries: 8,434Map.
  3. Business updates: Very small businesses are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus job crisis.
  4. World update: Spain’s confirmed cases surpassed 100,000, and the nation saw its biggest daily death toll so far. Over 500 people were reported dead within the last 24 hours in the U.K., per Johns Hopkins data.
  5. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest states to issue stay-at-home orders — Michigan has more than 9,000 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,200 and 78 new deaths in 24 hours.
  6. Stock market updates: Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

FBI sees record number of gun background checks amid coronavirus

Guns on display at a store in Manassas, Va. Photo: Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty

The FBI processed a record 3.7 million gun background checks in March — more than any month previously reported, according to the agency's latest data.

Driving the news: The spike's timing suggests it may be driven at least in part by the coronavirus.