Motorists using a Toronto street to park their vehicles around a busy commercial district on two of the most busy days of the year have been discovering that they can’t park there — when parked. As drivers are kept confused, they have also been visited by three vehicle-detecting “S.O.V.” robot parking enforcement workers. Caught short on a Saturday or a Sunday, they press a button that turns the car off, while the robot begins to read the license plate of the vehicle and sends out a ticket.
In preparation for the holiday shopping rush, the city took proactive measures against driving irresponsibly around these areas to avoid a deadly crash. Once this year’s rush had died down, however, the robots appeared to be experiencing some déjà vu.
The current campaign uses the same markings that the first “S.O.V.” robot was detected by while parked on George Street. The first “S.O.V.” robot was an autonomous self-driving robot which was painted onto the street and displayed some basic road rules and became the most popular parking spot in Toronto in April. When the strike ticket issued was read off, however, the names of the parkers were not revealed by the robot.
The second robot in April was a second autonomous self-driving robot which revealed some more technical features as it pulled into a spot on downtown’s Bay Street.
The most recent robot to arrive on George Street uses a metal bot that was equipped with two cameras and conducted observational tests to identify the robot’s place on the street’s pavement markings.
To avoid confusion and inconvenience for the hundreds of Toronto drivers who have been sent notices, Toronto city officials have been reaching out to them via Facebook and Twitter. These warnings had apparently done the trick — at least, as far as they knew. The robots are currently parked in front of the pedestrians’ neighbourhood information center near Bay Street and Jarvis Street.
According to one Facebook post, a handful of drivers recognized the “S.O.V.” robots as the ones they had been parked by, which is good, because this situation should stop happening now.
Read the full story at The Atlantic.
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