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Robots Park Your Car At Dusseldorf Airport

Robots Park Your Car At Dusseldorf Airport
Andre Tauber*

Starting on Tuesday, arriving passengers at Düsseldorf airport will be able to turn their car over to robot Ray who’ll park it for them.

Vehicles are left in one of six boxes about the size of a car-wash unit. Each box is equipped with its own Ray. Once the car is parked in the box, a touchpad asks the driver if the baggage has already been removed and when his or her return flight is.

After that Ray — a kind of robotic fork-lift — picks the car up and carries it to its parking spot .

Ray was designed by the Heidelberg-based Serva company. A basic system with two Rays and two parking bays costs 875,000 euros. According to Rupert Koch, Serva sales director, generally a system pays for itself within two years.

The director of Düsseldorf airport, Thomas Schnalke, says: "The product is mainly aimed at business travelers who’ll be returning within a couple of days. They get to the airport only shortly before their flight leaves and want maximum-efficient parking."

On return, passengers use an app to indicate when their flight is due. Shortly after their flight lands, Ray goes to fetch their vehicle.

Parking for a day costs 29 euros, or 4 euros per hour.

*This is a digest item, not a direct translation.

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Look At This Crap! The "Enshittification" Theory Of Why The Internet Is Broken

The term was coined by journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the fatal drift of major Internet platforms: if they were ever useful and user-friendly, they will inevitably end up being odious.

A person holding their smartphone

Gilles Lambert/ ZUMA
Manuel Ligero


The universe tends toward chaos. Ultimately, everything degenerates. These immutable laws are even more true of the Internet .

In the case of media platforms, everything you once thought was a good service will, sooner or later, disgust you. This trend has been given a name: enshittification . The term was coined by Canadian blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the inevitable drift of technological giants toward... well.

The explanation is in line with the most basic tenets of Marxism. All digital companies have investors (essentially the bourgeoisie, people who don't perform any work and take the lion's share of the profits), and these investors want to see the percentage of their gains grow year after year. This pushes companies to make decisions that affect the service they provide to their customers. Although they don't do it unwillingly, quite the opposite.

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Annoying customers is just another part of the business plan. Look at Netflix , for example. The streaming giant has long been riddling how to monetize shared Netflix accounts. Option 1: adding a premium option to its regular price. Next, it asked for verification through text messages. After that, it considered raising the total subscription price. It also mulled adding advertising to the mix, and so on. These endless maneuvers irritated its audience, even as the company has been unable to decide which way it wants to go. So, slowly but surely, we see it drifting toward enshittification.

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