Posted in | Automotive Robotics

Robot Parking for New Abu Dhabi Hotel

Abu Dhabi's The National is reporting on a valet parking facility with a difference...the "valet" being a mechanical robot, which will park or retrieve your car in 50 seconds - and best of all, parking will be free.

This robot parking plan will be implemented shortly at the Qaryat al Beri resort and will be the first of its kind in Abu Dhabi. The 14-storey, 50-metre-high robotic car park will have space for 325 vehicles, from small cars to SUVs. Construction shall begin next month and it is expected to open next May.

This is how the system is expected to operate. Drive into the car park and stop, facing inwards, on a rotating steel pallet operated by small robots. Cameras and sensors guide the driver into the correct position.

Next, the driver simply leaves the car and goes to a nearby machine, which issues an identification token for the car. The robots on the steel pallet then slide and rotate the car into an available parking spot.

When the driver returns, he or she drops the token into the machine to trigger the retrieval process. The robots slide the car through the exit point, facing outwards and ready to go.

In case of the token getting misplaced help will be at hand, sophisticated pan/tilt/zoom cameras required by Abu Dhabi police can identify the car by plate number. The robotic car park is the final phase of the Dh1.4 billion Qaryat al Beri development, which includes the Souk, the Shangri-La Hotel, Traders Hotel and private apartments and villas.

At the moment visitors have to park at Traders Hotel or the Shangri-La, use the Souq valet service or park in a vacant area of sand across the street.

Ahmad Khalil, 25, a frequent visitor to Qaryat al Beri who often struggles to park in the area, said he thought the project would help to resolve the problem.

“There is always a pile-up of cars, particularly at the weekend and in front of the Souk’s valet parking,” he said.“And when retrieving the car, sometimes there’s a good 20-minute wait. Parking on the sand is also a huge inconvenience. I think this will play a big role in relieving the parking delay.”

An official from the Qaryat al Beri Resort Development Company, a joint venture between Al Jaber Group and the Tourism Development and Investment Company, said visitors could simply leave their vehicles at the valet drop-off point at Traders Hotel and valet drivers would take care of the parking and retrieval process.

In the event of a power cut or system crash, an uninterrupted power supply and back-up system would kick in, the official said. A 24-hour control room also gives workers access to a manual override system in the event of an emergency.

A similar multi-storey car park near Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai accommodates 765 vehicles. Such car parks are in used around the world to make the best use of restricted space.

The Qaryat al Beri official said the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport was in negotiation for similar projects across the emirate.

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