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