1651: Robotic Garage

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Robotic Garage
But listen, if getting your car out from under the pile is REALLY important to you, we do have an axe you can borrow.
Title text: But listen, if getting your car out from under the pile is REALLY important to you, we do have an axe you can borrow.


In some cities, automated parking systems (aka robotic garages) are used to reduce the amount of space needed to store cars, as opposed to traditional parking buildings. The robotic system eliminates the needs for ramps and circulation/reversing areas. Normally, they work by having the user drive their car onto an elevator and get out, after which the elevator lifts or lowers the car into a compact storage space. Here Cueball drives up to what he believes to be a garage of this type operated by Black Hat. However, instead of an elevator carefully moving it into a storage space, a robotic claw simply picks up the car and dumps it in a bin of cars.

This type of parking option will not only break the car, but also make it impossible to take out if the car is at the bottom, hence the cars are stacked.

Cueball reacts quite well to this treatment of his car when Black Hat tells him that later they just dump out the bin (full of cars) and he can then pick his own out from the pile. (Maybe he knows Black Hat well enough not to try to argue with him?) This is of course not possible with such heavy objects. Cueball continues to be benign about this absurd situation, which becomes even more absurd when he asks if Black Hat could at least make sure his car is not at the bottom (when it is dumped out with all the other cars). But Black Hat falls back on his excuse "Robots aren't magic," implying that such a feat is beyond the realm of possibility. It would, of course, be quite possible to prevent the damage that Cueball fears if they were using a normal automated parking system.

In the title text he at least gives Cueball an option: he can borrow an axe, if it is really important for him to get the car out from the pile. Although in this situation, an axe would be a nearly useless tool (which, knowing him, is most likely Black Hat's intent), only allowing Cueball to laboriously hack through any other car that lies in the way on top of his own; and still it would not help much, because if his car is at the bottom, it will be even more destroyed than from just being dumped into the bin to begin with.

This is just one of many situations where Black Hat has an evil or just mean/crazy plan in progress. It's for instance not the first time that Black Hat has treated other people's car with great disrespect, although in 562: Parking, the guy with the car had it coming!


[Black Hat points left while talking to Cueball inside his small car.]
Black Hat: Just pull onto the receiving platform.
Cueball: Cool-I've always wanted to try one of these futuristic robotic garages.
[Cueball has driven the car onto a platform in front of a stop to the left. He is just walking of the platform towards Black Hat.]
[Zoom out reveals a robotic crane arm, that sits on top of the stop from the previous panel, which turns out to be a huge platform for this robot arm. The robotic arm picks up the car with its two fingers and lifts it into the air with a finger on the hood and the other below the car. Black Hat and Cueball look on.]
Cueball: Um.
[This panel pans over to the center of the robotic arm, to reveal a large bin with a label to the robots left. The robot arm holds the car almost straight up in the air, but over the bin.]
Label: Cars
[The robotic arm open up to release the car which crashes down into the bin, a sound already emanating from it when the rear end of the car (with one wheel still showing) is still visible.]
Car: Crunch
Label: Cars
[Zoom back to Black Hat and Cueball standing at the end of the empty platform.]
Black Hat: We'll dump out the bin when you get back and you can pick out your car from the pile.
Cueball: Can you at least make sure it's not on the bottom?
Black Hat: Look, robots aren't magic.

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First Post (just read that comic (and this) the other day and couldn't help my self :-) --Kynde (talk) 08:40, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

black hat axe hmmm fire rescue axe? maybe? possibly damaging the car defeating the purpose of an automatic "aprking" system that handles cars like top gear handles valet keys? Needforsuv (talk) 12:16, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

Well, an axe would definately damage everyone else's car. Mikemk (talk) 21:00, 5 March 2016 (UTC)
For some reason, I thought the axe was "hack a hole into the bottom of the bin, to gain access/egress for your car", although that would have meant BlackHat has as little regard of his own 'storage device' as the cars themselves... 12:52, 6 March 2016 (UTC)

When I first read this I did it as Cueball being mistaken that it was a parking garage when it really was a car crusher, and since Blackhat then would get money from the recycling of the car he does not care if Cueball gets it back ever WJBodin3 (talk) 02:26, 5 March 2016 (UTC)

Ya'll think this is a joke about Black Hat being disrespectful of other people's things again. It's not (well, it is, but it's not just that). This is actually reasonably accurate. I've seen cars go vertical on the elevators in a robotic garage. And if the automation software goes wrong (as it very well can), getting the correct car out can be difficult. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

It seems like the explanation is perfect as it is, and you guys are overcomplicating Black Hat's quote. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Agree. I removed the icomplete-tag. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 11:18, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

I think this is also a reference to a common practice of having a "bowl of keys" to prevent people from driving drunk from a party. You put your key in the bowl, and when you've leaving for the night the host makes you're sober to drive and digs the key out of the bowl. 18:00, 15 March 2022 (UTC)

I've never been to a party where that happens. But, then again, I've also never been to a party where a bowl of car-keys has been used for a different purpose, at the start of the evening. So it probably just confirms what I already knew: that I don't go to enough parties. 21:27, 15 March 2022 (UTC)

Does "stacked" really need a link to Wikipedia on stacks?