A quick review of Automated Parking concepts

Mechanical Parking System is a concept first introduced in 1905 in France and in 1920 in the US. It refers to the idea of parking as many cars as possible in a minimized area, using a mechanical structure. However, not all mechanical parking solutions are actually ‘Automated’. We call them all ‘mechanical parking’ but we distinguish them by Manual / Semi Automated / Fully automated. The electro-mechanical part may be similar but the design, concept and users-experience are entirely different.

The different types of Mechanical Parking

  1. The Fully-Automated parking is a system where you drop your vehicle at an entry point and system components take it away in a 3-dimensional movement. It can be a single or multi-level structure, but the movement is 3 dimensional. The parking process is entirely autonomous.
  2. The Semi–Automated systems are structures that go up and down and have limited movement of left and right.
    Typically they have 2-dimensional movement. The parking process requires human assistance on-site.
  3. 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.

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

The upgraded User Experience of Automated Parking

A Fully Automated Parking system can be typically found in an enclosed structure. The movement is Multi-Dimensional and Multi-Directional (as opposed of just going up and down) and it can be a single or multiple levels. The driver pulls into a wide bay room, turns off the engine and leaves with the car keys.

The system is completely autonomous and the user experience is comfortable, safe and effortless.

With stackers and Semi-Automated systems, a driver or a valet should maneuver the car into the system and walk out to a platform or narrow walk. From those obvious reasons, stackers and Semi-automated systems are not the best solutions for all developments. Medical institutions, where some patients have limited mobilty and can’t walk in narrow sapces, are a good exmaple to such.

In residential buildings, fully automated parking gives users the comfort and space they need to handle their personal belongings, such as strollers,  groceries and so on.

The comfortable and easy parking process of a fully automated system is what makes it a game changer amenity in new developments.

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