Auto Parkit fully-automatic parkade opens in LA


February 24, 2013

After a driver pulls into the Auto Parkit valet area, all cars are rotated on a turntable 180 degrees before storage

After a driver pulls into the Auto Parkit valet area, all cars are rotated on a turntable 180 degrees before storage

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Wouldn't it be nice to park your car at the end of a long day at the office without having to waste time (and fuel) driving in circles around a multi-tiered garage, or worry about putting your treasured ride in the hands of a parking attendant. Such hassles are a thing of the past for residents of a top-tier apartment community in the Sherman Oaks district of Southern California now that Auto Parkit's new fully automated parking garage has been officially opened.

Though semi- or fully-automated parking structures are not exactly a new concept, Auto Parkit's facility represents the first structure to be constructed in Los Angeles, and the first of its kind in Southern California. The project was the brainchild of LA real estate developer Christopher Alan, who partnered with Dasher Lawless, Omron Automation & Safety, Design Systems Inc., SEW Eurodrive, ConXtech and others to design a scalable, operator-free, fully-automated, simple-to-use, high density parking system.

Construction of Auto Parkit's first facility took about 12 months for the building itself and another four months or so to install the attendant-free, robot parking system. Alan was joined by LA Council member Paul Krekorian, Adrin Nazarian from the California Assembly, Bud Ovrom of the LA Dept of Building & Safety and Congressman Tony Cardenas to cut the ribbon on February 21.

Drivers enter the structure through an ordinary-looking garage door, switch off the engine and exit the vehicle. After waving a key fob at a nearby kiosk in the valet area, the system then takes care of the rest – loading the car onto an electrically-powered lift/shuttle mechanism that places it in the appropriate spot until needed again.

Retrieval is a little different in that the driver passes the same key fob over any floor-based HID reader in the facility and about a minute later, the car is delivered to the driver at ground level, nose forward and ready to drive out.

The Auto Parkit Automated Parking System (AMPS) is completely powered by electricity (though there is a back-up generator to ensure continued operation), there's no need for powered 24-hour ventilation and, because people have been taken out of the parking equation, there's only minimal lighting throughout. Maintenance is undertaken through service agreements.

Erin Titus from Dasher Lawless told us that the Los Angeles facility is the first of many, confirming that Auto Parkit is currently "involved with building more than 50 automated parking structure’s throughout the United States."

We don't (yet) have a video of the live system in operation, but the animation below demonstrates how Auto Parkit works.

Source: Auto Parkit

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Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

There's a 1964 version of this parking system in London, see Parking Automatic What do they say? "everything old is new again"! Paul

Pee Dee

One only need drive the streets and freeways around L.A. to easily discern that better mass transit and not elaborate parking structure infrastructure is what Southern California needs most.

Fahrenheit 451

I wonder how efficiently it will function at 8 in the morning when everybody wants their car now. I find these types of carparks quite slow, even when there is nobody else waiting for their car. Still, I guess it depends on the amount of residents and their lifestyle.


The rich love mass transit so that the poor won't be clogging the streets with their vehicles impeding the rich people private cars. - Grandpa Stonebender.

If it work reliably I'm all for it, but I'll miss the elation of getting a really great parking place.


Been around in Japan in practically most apartment complexes and neighborhood paid car-parks and for donkey's years at that, and as PeeDee pointed out in London circa 1964. Space limitations are finally catching up with the Yanks, eh.


The devil is in the details. The demo does not show how the plates are transferred sideways. It does not show the sensors and engines that move the back/front rails. It all boils down to 2 points - cost of maintenance, and cost of real-estate. In Japan & Taiwan, automatic car parks are successful due to real estate cost. I doubt they will be successful in the USA. As to retrieval time, if designed properly, an auto car park should be able to retrieve a car in less than a minute and a half.

Dan Dov

I wish I though of and was able to build this. Great idea


Too bad cars are all engineered to be horizontal (four wheels planted) for their short lives - very leaky otherwise. Electric should solve this problem and then we can store them at any angle desired (including vertically) - parking change and stuff in trunk notwithstanding.


This is one perfect idea! Awesome! So impressive as well. Thanks for posting!

Shawn Woolard
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