Wired – Step into the Garage Where Robots Do All the Parking
by Jack Stewart, October 28, 2016
Hands up if you enjoy parking.
No takers? Thought not. Fortunately, technology is here to help. When it comes to storing cars efficiently, robots rule.
West Hollywood, California says it saved over a million dollars with the West Coast’s first municipal robot garage, which ditches the idea of driving into the garage, circling up and down ramps until you find an open spot, squeezing your way in, then wandering your way out again.
Instead, you just need to follow a green arrow into a super-wide space on the ground floor, lock your car, and walk away. Machinery swings into action to lift, stack, and pack your vehicle somewhere inside the structure.
Autonomous shuttles can squeeze cars into tight spaces, because there’s no need for room for the doors to open, or for other cars to drive past. Providing the same 200 spaces in a conventional garage would have required more space, and more materials. Those cars would also pump out more noise and pollution as they circle and idle looking for a spot.
The engineering firm responsible, Unitronics, says it can move 100 cars per hour, and the wait in West Hollywood is up to 10 minutes to get your car back. (Keeping that wait time down while demand is high is critical: A similar project (by a different company) in Miami was taken offline after users reported waiting an hour for their cars.)