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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

Go deeper

Wall Street wonders how bad it has to get

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wall Street is working out how bad the economy will have to get for Congress to feel motivated to move on economic support.

Why it matters: A pre-Thanksgiving data dump showed more evidence of a floundering economic recovery. But the slow drip of crumbling economic data may not be enough to push Washington past a gridlock to halt the economic backslide.

1 hour ago - Health

Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine

Photo illustration by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Moderna announced that it plans to file with the FDA Monday for an emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine, which the company said has an efficacy rate of 94.1%.

Why it matters: Moderna will become the second company to file for a vaccine EUA after Pfizer did the same earlier this month, potentially paving the way for the U.S. to have two COVID-19 vaccines in distribution by the end of the year. The company said its vaccine has a 100% efficacy rate against severe COVID cases.

The social media addiction bubble

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Right now, everyone from Senate leaders to the makers of Netflix's popular "Social Dilemma" is promoting the idea that Facebook is addictive.

Yes, but: Human beings have raised fears about the addictive nature of every new media technology since the 18th century brought us the novel, yet the species has always seemed to recover its balance once the initial infatuation wears off.