She's automatic! (Well, the car park is...)

The city of Xiamen opened their first mechanical automated parking tower. First there will be a trial operation for the next one and a half month, before it will officially open to the public.


The car park operates as followed: You drive your car onto a platform in the garage. Then the automated parking system will move your car to the available parking space somewhere in the tower. The cars can be moved vertically and horizontally with the use of hydraulic or mechanical lifts.



Wohr Combiparker 556Wöhr Combiparker 556

By the way, have you seen the new Wöhr Combiparker 556? Wöhr is one of the leading manufacturers of car parking systems in Europe. The company motto is: “We compact parking space”, and they really live up to it: The Combiparker 556 allows car parking up to six levels above ground and up to five grids next to each other. It’s a combination of stacking and moving cars closer  together.

The benefits of automated parking systems

A multilevel parking facility with an automated parking system is also a lot cheaper to build and maintain. Okay, you have to purchase the equipment for the system, but think about all the money-saving advantages:

  • You don't have to provide an expensive ventilation system inside the facility. Cars that are getting parked aren’t running and there isn’t any staff inside. Here you can save a lot of energy
  • That’s right: you don’t need to employ staff! At least not that much. There are no people inside the parking facility.
  • Because there aren’t any people inside, no one can litter, right? No one can make a mess and therefor you need no one to clean up the mess. People will also never get into a fight in your parking garage. No cars will drive into each other, or into the walls.
  • You can stack more cars in a compact space, because the cars are parked by robots. No more double parked cars, parking spaces can be smaller because no one needs to get in or out of the vehicle and people don’t park it themselves; the robotic system doesn’t need as much space to park a car than a human does.

You do need to clean the equipment every once in a while of course, plus at least one to four times a year someone needs to check the equipment to see if it all still works properly. The number of times for a service check depends on the equipment that is used.

Automated parking systems can park cars fast – really fast. At peak times, people don’t have to stand in line that long anymore to get in or out. Robots speed up the whole parking process. That’s what you’d think, right? Unfortunately it’s not like that. Actually, at peak times people might even have to wait longer than in a conventional parking facility. In conventional parking garages people load their luggage and get in the vehicle at the parking spot itself. In an automated parking garage this only happens at one place: the exit. Normally when people are in line to leave the parking facility, they’ve already packed their stuff and are already sitting in the car. Now they’re waiting for their car at the exit. You see where I’m going with this? You can debate over what system works best at peak times: conventional garages or automated ones. It’s a matter of design, how many exits and entrances there are.

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