Millions of cars are sold annually by automobile manufacturers across the world, with nearly 8 and a half million vehicles being sold by Toyota alone each year. With the increasing number of vehicles on the road, parking space is rapidly becoming a major expense in many cities.
The obvious solution to the parking crisis across the world is the invention of automated parking systems, also known as robotic parking systems, multi-tiered car parking systems or automated parking garages.
In automated parking systems, vehicles are stacked vertically on top of each other, on multiple levels to reduce the area required for parking cars while maximizing the number of parking spaces.
These systems can be constructed on any empty space, even in between separate buildings. They are available in various sizes to suit different buildings. They employ technologies similar to that used by mechanical parcel handling and data retrieval systems.
How Do Roboticized Parking Lot Systems Work?
Automated parking systems employ mechanical components, cameras, sensors and computers to move the vehicle across the parking garage and park it in an empty slot.
This operation is very simple. These systems are of two types, based on the way in which the vehicles are transported from an entrance area to the parking place: vertical lifts and horizontal platforms. The operation is very similar in both cases, with an exception that the vehicle moves either laterally or vertically to reach the parking spot.
The vehicle is driven to the multi-storied garage, and the driver leaves the car on the ramp. Meanwhile, the sensor monitors the size and overall shape of the vehicle, and the system determines the parking spot based on the availability. Hydraulic or mechanical car lifters are set in motion to move the car to the corresponding place, either horizontally or vertically.
Fastest parking systems may take less than two and a half minutes to complete the whole process. Most of the systems are installed with turntables which avoid the need for the driver to reverse the car while leaving the ramp.
These systems provide the driver with a card or key having a code for identifying the vehicle's position. The system identifies the car when the driver scans the key or card later on and brings back the vehicle with the help of its mechanical arms.
The following video by FATA Automation, Inc., a company that designs automated car parking systems, demonstrates how this design concept works:
Video courtesy of FATA Automation, Inc.
The key benefits of automated parking systems include the following:
- Low cost of construction – Although the equipment installation and conveying technology needed for automated car parking systems may initially cost more than conventional installations, automated system do not require any auxiliary systems such as pedestrian elevators, ventilation systems, fire doors, emergency staircases, etc., like that of conventional garages.
- Saves space - Automated car parking systems require about 50% less space to accommodate the same number of vehicles when compared to conventional parking facilities. Single carousel systems require 100 x 100 ft and double carousel garages require 180 x 180 ft.
- High security level – An automated parking system offers advanced transfer stations for the entry and retrieval of vehicles. Vehicles in this system are free of vandalism, theft, dents and damage. Additionally, they are provided with sensors and security cameras in transfer stations to ensure safe and protected parking.
- Less maintenance – Although automated parking systems require more power than conventional facilities, the maintenance and management of automated facilities are less labor-intensive. Its conveying technology avoids moving the vehicle manually via the parking structure thereby reducing pollution from vehicle exhaust emissions.
- Automated guidance for entry and departure – Automatic vehicle guidance systems such as turntables in the automated garages avoid the need of the driver to reverse the vehicle while parking and retrieving the vehicle from the transfer station.
- Additional facilities - Automated parking garage systems also offer various additional services such as carwash stations for vehicle parked there, traffic control, parking space reservation systems and other support functions.
Products on the Market
Some of the key autonomous parking systems that are commercially available in the market are listed below:
Car Parking LP System
The LP system developed by Automotion Parking System can be used for long and narrow sites. It can be adapted to meet the space requirements of any parking space. The main features of this system include turntable with or without plates, transfer room located above the storage and retrieval unit, and double and mixed row configurations.
The key benefits of the LP car parking system include:
- Retrieval of car in less than 2 minutes
- Avoids dents, scratches or dings
- Reduced labor and operational costs.
Robotic Parking Systems' RPS 200 automated parking system includes an industrial lift for rotating and transporting the vehicles to the corresponding parking levels, a number of entrance terminals for achieving sufficient peak traffic handling of the system. It also features patented high level warning systems for providing alerts in advance of any failures. No cars are run inside this garage system, and hence there are no car emissions.
The Skyline T-Park tower parking system by Skyline Parking provides up to 234 parking spaces in a tower with a diameter of only 23m (75ft). Skyline's industry-leading design retrieves parked cars on average in less than 60 seconds. Whether configured as single or multiple towers, the T-Park is a simple, scalable and space-efficient way to provide lots of parking spaces.
AZW Reference Movie from Skyline Parking AG on Vimeo.
Boomerang’s RoboticValet™ employs an automated guided vehicle technology that can handle any parking challenge. It can move the vehicles including underneath parked vehicles in any direction, and lift only the tray without touching the vehicle.
The following are some of the major advantages of RoboticValet™:
- Easy to maintain
- Lifts can carry payloads up to ~7000 lbs
- Vehicles can be rotated without turntable
- It is operated using a battery.
Sources and Further Reading