The different types of Mechanical Parking

Mechanical Parking Systems were first introduced as early as 1884 with the Ford patents. It referred to using mechanical operations to dense parking spaces and accommodate as many vehicles as possible in a given area. However, not all mechanical parking solutions indeed are ‘Automated.’ We call them all ‘Mechanical Parking’ but we distinguish them by Manual / Semi-Automated / Fully Automated systems.

  • The Fully-Automated Parking system is entirely autonomous. Drivers drop their vehicle at an entry point, lock it and leave, and the system transfers the vehicle to its parking position without any human intervention. The system operates in a 3-dimensional movement and can be embedded in a single or multi-level structure. The system performs several parking and retrieval cycles simultaneously. On retrieval, cars are facing out and ready to go.

    Fully automated parking system at Hoboken, NJ
  • The Semi–Automated Parking, somtimes called Puzzle or Carousel, typically has 2-dimensional movement. Pallets go up and down with limited left and right movement. Users drive their vehicles into the platform using a narrow walkway to exit. The car remains in the same position while the platform moves. An on-site assistant initiates the operation.

    Semi automated parking system

  • Manual / Mechanical Parking– Typically stackers that either double, triple or quadruple the number of parking spaces by using an element that goes vertically on 2-4 pallets that are stacked. The car pulls in and a human operator on-site is required to push the button and take it up.

    Multi-level stack parking in Broadway, NYC

All of those are methods to densify parking. We call them all ‘Mechanical Parking’, but only the first one is a fully automated parking system.

This table summerises the differences between the 3 types of mechanical parking systems:

The differences between automated parking and mechanical parking systems

(*) Click to learn more about performance level

The Premium User Experience – A Valet Without a Valet

Fully Automated Parking system provides a premium user experience of a valet, just without the valet. The parking process is simple, safe, and effortless. 

With mechanical parking systems, such as stackers and Semi-Automated, a driver or a valet maneuvers the vehicle into the system and walk out to a platform or a narrow walk. Users carrying belongings, kids, or pets might not find those narrow walkways convenient. Medical institutions, where some users have limited mobility and may need accessible parking spaces, are an excellent example of such. In an automated parking system drivers pull into a wide bay room designed to accommodate users with any personal belongings, such as luggage, strollers, wheelchairs, etc.

Automated Parking Activated by A Mobile App

Users expect Mobile Apps to help them manage their time effectively, in many aspects of their lives, and parking is no different. Automated Parking app does exactly that.

Users can schedule their car retrival, minimizing their waiting time. The app shares information about the average retrieval times throughout the day, space availability, and space reservation and provides real-time information about the retrieval process.
The comfortable and easy parking process of a fully automated system is what makes it a game-changer amenity in new developments.

More about the user experience

U-tron Projects


By replacing the conventional underground parking with U-tron’s automated parking system, we were able to build a
significantly smaller parking structure below grade allowing us to create valuable retail space

John C. Petras, CEO, Rockfarmer Properties

Less usable space committed to parking translates into a more efficient
development, both from an economic and environmental standpoint

Matt Testa, Bijou Properties

It’s also personal for me. I park my car in a
U-tron garage every night and I love it

Dean Marchetto, MHS Architects

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