Automated parking systems come in multiple types and forms, and to make it more challenging, different manufacturers market their solutions differently, resulting in confused clients and designers. This section will classify the different solutions by name, type, and main characteristics. It is not intended to be a full guide to the entire market, its different manufacturers and solutions, rather a guide to identifying the different types and their fit for your project.
4 Types of Automated Parking Systems
- Shuttle Parking System
Shuttle-based systems (also referred to as “Rack and Rail”) are based on shuttles performing single path horizontal movement along fixed rails and storing vehicles on racks located perpendicular to both sides of the fixed rails. The structure is made of concrete (with embedded rails) or steel racking structure (similar to warehouse racks), and achieves maximal efficiency in rectangular shapes. Shuttle systems range from single level to multi-level, and typically serve larger parking capacity (hundreds of spaces).
Shuttle systems provide continues power supply to the system components, which combined with the simple linear movements yield higher performance levels.
- Conveyor Parking System
Conveyor-based systems (Also referred to as “Matrix” or “Puzzle”) are based on stationary conveyors performing multi-path movements of vehicles stored on pallets. The structure is made of concrete or steel racking, and the arrangement of the individual conveyors allows high design flexibility in odd shaped geometries. Conveyor systems range from single level to multi-level, and serve smaller parking capacity (single digit number of spaces) to medium sized parking capacity (tens of spaces). The storage of vehicles is on top of the conveyors yielding very high square-footage efficiency.
Conveyor based systems’ performance levels are directly related to the complexity of the conveyors array arrangement.
- Crane Parking System
Crane-based systems – unlike the Shuttle, Conveyor and AGV systems, which use a separate lift component to perform the vertical travel in multi-level systems, the crane combines the vertical travel within the same device that performs the horizontal movement.
- AGV (Autonomous Guided Vehicle) Systems
AGV works based on battery operated shuttles performing multi-path horizontal movements on a flat surface. The structure is made of concrete and the arrangement of the of the storage locations allows high design flexibility in odd shaped geometries. AGV systems range from single level to multi-level, and typically serve smaller parking capacity (up to about 50 spaces) due to dependency on battery charging, which results in lower performance levels.
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Previous articles in our Design-Considerations series:
Part 1: Parking Design Considerations
Part 2: Vehicle Dimensions and Parking Structure Dimensions
Part 3: Automated Parking System Performance
Part 4: Automated Parking System Street Access and Entry/Exit Level