A concerning new development in car repossession technology has recently emerged in the UK – a radio-controlled, tank-tracked robot that can lift vehicles completely off the ground and remove them from parking spaces!
Meet the robot that’s shaking things up
A video posted online shows the robot, operated by Recovery North West (RNW), plucking a Volvo XC60 SUV from a disabled parking space where it was illegally parked. The robot manages to lift all four wheels of the heavy Volvo off the ground before transporting it out of the parking area to a nearby tow truck.
This new repossession robot, called the Eastract, was originally built by French company Multitract. It features tank treads for manoeuvrability in tight spaces and is powered by a 35hp Briggs and Stratton engine, giving it the strength to lift and carry vehicles weighing up to 5,500 lbs. The Eastract is radio-controlled by an RNW operator.
RNW specialises in the recovery of heavy equipment and machinery, so a robot like the Eastract is ideal for repossessing vehicles in tricky, cramped parking areas. With its tank treads, small footprint, and teleoperation, the Eastract can access spaces regular tow trucks simply cannot, like underground car parks, narrow lanes, and crowded city streets.
Illegal and problematic parking has always been an issue for recovery companies in built-up areas. Traditional tow trucks need wide access and turning space to attach to vehicles and haul them away. The Eastract neatly solves this problem – its operator can guide it into the smallest of spaces, secure the vehicle, and drag it out to a place accessible for loading onto a standard truck.
On first sight, the Eastract seems to have sprung from a dystopian novel. The knowledge that you could return to find your vehicle seized by an unstoppable remote-controlled robot and towed away should act as a strong deterrent.
Regardless, the introduction of this robot represents a significant leap in technology’s influence on the motoring world. It could fundamentally change how we enforce parking rules, making the process more efficient and less labour-intensive.
Robots on the streets of Northern Ireland?
It’s easy to imagine the Eastract or similar robots coming to Northern Ireland in the future. Belfast is just as prone to illegal parking and tow-away situations as any major UK city. Many parking areas in cities and towns are tight, compact spaces ideal for the Eastract.
If deployed properly, robots like the Eastract could make a real difference to problematic parking in urban areas. While steps to improve parking and traffic flow can be welcome, it’s safe to assume that the public will want assurances over fairness, transparency and discretion in how repossession robots are used. Responsible regulation will most certainly be necessary.
For Northern Ireland’s drivers, the prospect of a remote-controlled robot towing away your car should make you think twice before parking illegally. This technology is only going to become more prevalent across the UK – we had best be ready for its arrival on Northern Irish streets. So, as we navigate our cities and towns, let’s remember to park responsibly. The Eastract could be watching, ready to enforce the rules in the most futuristic way possible.