Robotic Garage is the Future of Urban Parking Bases



Robotic garages are becoming a futuristic solution to address urban parking challenges

The growing urbanisation has clustered cities with excess population. With an increasing number of people shifting to cities, the issue of lack of facility and space turns more critical. Robotics has helped on a large scale to mitigate the rising demand for automation in urban basins, especially, in parking spaces. Robotic garages are becoming a futuristic solution to address parking challenges. It is anticipated that the robotic garages would be the face of urban parking bases soon. 

scarcity of urban land combined with concerns over environmental sustainability, as well as the burgeoning numbers of cars has made robotic garages a preferred alternative to other forms of parking such as multi-storey parking, on-street parking, etc. As more people step into smart cities, the space crunch keeps spiking. At the forefront where conventional parking spaces that occupy large chunks of land don’t work anymore, robotic garages make their debut. Fortunately, robotic garages can even accommodate twice or thrice as many vehicles in the same amount of space with the help of automated warehouses for increasing efficiency. Even though the concept might take a little longer to streamline in countries with vast areas like the US, other small and densely populated nations like China and European countries are adopting them at a faster pace. 

What is a robotic garage or automatic parking?

Robotic garages are structures where cars are stacked vertically to limit space. The design of these unique systems helps transport vehicles from the entrance to its parking space without the driver present.

The history of automatic parking systems is traced back to the early 1900s. In 1905, Paris had the first automated parking system at the Garage Rue de Ponthieu. The structure consisted of a loft in the centre to move up cars one or two levels, wherein attendants on each floor would park them. A ‘paternoster system’ structured like a Ferris wheel that could adjust eight cars in the space of two cars was unravelled in 1920. 

A long time later, between the 1940s and 50s, the robotic garages became an important part of the urban parking system. In 1951, Washington D.C saw its first-ever driverless parking garage. Unfortunately, the system faced frequent mechanical problems and long waiting times for patrons to retrieve their cars. The United Kingdom got its own Auto Stacker in 1961 in Woolwich, London. After three decades, Japan became the potential country that experimented with robotic parking on large scale. In the early 1990s, Japan constructed nearly 40,000 parking spaces annually using the paternoster automatic parking system. However, according to the Robotic Parking Systems, Inc, the term ‘Robotic parking’ first emerged in 1994, and the first completely automated garage was opened in 2002. As we have gone through the history and changes of automatic parking, let us have a look at some of the remarkable advantages that robotic garages pose.

  • The first and foremost advantage is that more cars can be accommodated in very less space. It gets more sophisticated in the case of fully-automated parking systems, where attendants do not have to park cars. 
  • Robotic garages might initially take a large sum of money for the machinery and mechanism, but comparatively, they are economic to spending a large sum of money on a vast area of land used for parking.
  • As robotic garages accommodate more numbers of cars at a minimum space, the security system is also very tight and intact. It almost nullifies accessibility to pedestrians. Fortunately, these high-end parking spaces also ensure pedestrians safety as drivers and passengers do not have to manoeuvre through cramped parking garages with little space. 
  • In the society where carbon emission is an increasing threat, robotic garages help promote fewer car emissions and reduced fuel consumption since cars are turned off as soon as they enter the parking lot.

Notable automated parking systems

An Israeli robotics company Unitronics has designed a parking system called U-Tron that uses a robotic platform to park vehicles compactly in custom-designed structures that can fir more vehicles in a building than traditional garages. China has launched its first diagonal smart parking garage in the city of Nanjing in East China. It is an intelligent parking system designed to optimise space utility, fuel efficiency, cost-effectiveness, in a bid to make urban areas more liveable.