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Behind the Scenes at SaMo's (Slightly Buggy) Robot Garage

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The "West Coast's first automated parking garage" is moving cars around the UCLA Santa Monica Outpatient Surgery Center, but it's still a work-in-progress, the Santa Monica Patch reports (we've also heard there's a small one operating in Hollywood). A few bugs in the system have caused delays in vehicle retrievals, though valets are helping facilitate things. As it works now, cars drive up to one of six bays where 8,000-pound cranes move them to one of six levels. Employees swipe their driver's license or a badge to retrieve their cars, while the public will use a credit or debit card (the garage will open to the public when all the kinks are worked out). Usually the cars can be retrieved in two minutes and people seem happy with the system: "It breaks down sometimes, but when it's working it's really great," according to one nurse. One of the best aspects of the robot garages, other than never losing your vehicle or dealing with break-ins, is they hold more cars than a typical garage and can be built smaller. West Hollywood and Chinatown both have automated parking garages in the works.
· Debugging Santa Monica's First Robo Garage [Patch]