The coming of the Automated Parking Garage
By Mike Hanlon
February 16, 2007
The most expensive parking is the parking we don’t have. Not that long ago, when cars were less plentiful and inner city space was moreso, the major expenses of driving were depreciation and running costs. Now as space becomes more valuable and competition for that space is also at a high, parking space is fast becoming a major expense with mid-town Manhattan, London and Tokyo all commanding up to US$500 a month for a parking space and a permanent parking space was recently sold in London for UKP300,000. The solution to the world’s Parking Crisis is obvious: state-of-the-art automated parking robotic technologies will deliver the most space-efficient and hence cost-efficient parking. The current generation of parking garages has space-consuming access ramps and lots of access lanes that never get parked on, and also needs enough height for a very tall human being to comfortably walk upright – rather than the space-efficient compact box into which your car is slipped in an automated system. The ramps aren’t needed when you have a car lift and a computerized racking system. Whatsmore, a custom-built automated car parking facility of the same size as a conventional carpark can hold at least twice as many cars, offering double or more the income after a safe refurbishing investment. It’s more efficient for the customer (less than 2.5 minutes to get your car), costs less to run (no human attendants are required), there are no accidents, dents or scratches (because computers move the cars, not humans), and as the cars cannot be reached by other car park users, there’s no chance of theft or vandalism. Though this article is primarily about Automotion, there are now many manufacturers of automated carpark solutions, such as Stolzer Parkhaus, Robopark, Westfalia, Klausparking, LTW, Trevipark, Urban Parking Concepts, Eltodo, Space Saver Parking and the massive Chinese Tianchen Group – if you have a space that could use a carpark, this solution will make your money work at least twice as hard.
The AutoMotion fully automated parking garage system was opened last month in New York City. The facility is open to residents and the parking public at 123 Baxter Street, a newly completed luxury condominium building in the city's vibrant Nolita neighborhood. With attendant-free, fully automatic parking of vehicles, car owners can retrieve their vehicle in less than 2.5 minutes with no risk of dents, scratches or dings to the car.
AutoMotion also eliminates the chance of damage to their car interior or theft of personal goods left inside of car, i.e., an iPod or briefcase, since no one ever enters the vehicle. Once a customer drives inside the garage's entry/exit room and locks their car, they swipe a card to activate the system and leave. Their vehicle remains motionless, transported on a pallet automatically to its storage bay. When returning, customers swipe their card and their car is returned back to the entry/exit point and the customer starts the car and drives away. No tipping of attendants will be required. Without the frequent running and idling of auto engines found within traditional car valet parking systems, the environmental nuisance of harmful car exhaust fumes and excessive noise will also be removed.
The AutoMotion Parking System showcases state-of-the-art technology developed by the world's leading German industrial manufacturer Stolzer Parkhaus, which has successfully built 28 automated facilities operating in 11 countries worldwide. MJS Garage Management, in business since 1947, will operate the first system. Mr. Michael Schneeweiss, President of MJS comments, "I've never seen a parking system that works so efficiently. We've been to Germany and to Washington to see operational systems and are convinced this is the future of the parking industry in terms of reliability, safety, and convenience to the customer."
"While the first application of AutoMotion technology in New York is within a luxury condominium development, it is fully adaptable to service business complexes, hospitals, retail centers and other parking intensive projects," says Perry Finkelman, Partner and Managing Director of AutoMotion Parking systems. "AutoMotion delivers tremendous advantages to both the customer and real estate developer while maximizing space, cost savings and convenience. Looking ahead, current AutoMotion research and development is formulating equipment for government agencies to incorporate within high technology safety and security detection parking operations."
Modern AutoMotion parking systems maximize the parking capacity of garage facilities by double or triple the amount housed by traditional parking systems through significant reduction of unnecessary headroom and other wasted space. This impressive standard delivers greater parking capability and profit value, with the further advantage of reduced operating costs. Demonstrating these benefits in Manhattan is the 123 Baxter Street luxury condominium development. The automated parking system technology enabled the transformation of a former 100 parking space lot into a 67 parking space garage with 24 condominium units and retail shops.
AutoMotion installed its first automated parking in 1996 in Kronach, Germany. The company maintains teams of specially trained mechanics, available 24 hours, seven days a week in tandem with traditional parking service maintenance firms. Every parking cardholder is given an emergency telephone number to summon expert assistance. While current AutoMotion systems are designed to accommodate nearly all passenger vehicle sizes, excluding the largest of sports utility vehicles, the company may easily customize an automated system to fit any vehicle size specification.