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Vending machine dispenses your new car like a soft drink

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Believe it or not, there are already vending machines for cars. However, they typically require that you walk over to your new ride -- it's not much more than a cute take on what you'd see at a regular dealership. Carvana isn't happy with this state of affairs, though. The retailer is launching an automated vending machine that delivers your car to you, much like a regular machine dispenses your foodstuff of choice. When you drop in a specially supplied coin (no, you're not depositing real cash), the robotic system fetches your ride from a 20-car tower and brings it to one of three delivery bays. You only have to wait patiently on the ground.

Gallery: Carvana robotic car vending machine | 9 Photos

Is the vending machine a sales gimmick? You bet -- it's a way for Carvana to stand out in a sea of familiar-looking dealerships. With that said, this technology does have its practical advantages. It doesn't require vast lots to hold large numbers of vehicles, and it could even reduce the need for human help during the shopping process. You probably won't see these devices very often (not as long as dealership lobbies try to prevent direct sales), but they hint at a future where buying a new car involves little more than ordering online and visiting a pickup point when you're ready.

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