High-tech car parking saves precious real estate

New and improved automated devices permit greater vehicle density within a parking facility, unlike conventional steel rack and rail systems
Real Estate in the UAE doesn't come cheap, especially when its sole purpose is for parking. It's no wonder then that automatic car parking systems have been slowly taking the place of multi-storey car parks.

Automated systems permit greater vehicle density in a parking facility. Unlike conventional steel rack and rail systems, which have a limited range of motion, Boomerang's Robotic Valet system rolls on solid concrete slab floors and can drive in any direction, anywhere in a garage including underneath parked cars.

"A traditional car park in the UAE and the US (since both countries generally use the same models) typically uses 45 to 50 square metres for a car. With our system, it's 18 to 24 square metres a car. We're able to use automation to fit twice as many cars into the same space as a conventional self park garage," says Woody Nash, director of Boomerang Parking Systems.

The prices of the automated systems are also attractive to land developers. According to Nash, building below two levels underground can be expensive, but the automated system avoids the problem of adding extra floors.

"You could be paying as much as Dh140,000 per space with a conventional car park. Our systems use half as much space and we typically charge about Dh45,000 per car on average and Dh70,000 for structural costs. You end up paying about Dh115,000, versus the conventional Dh140,000, plus you're getting rid of two levels of basements," says Nash.

The US-based automatic car parking company Boomerang, which has been in the country for two years, has just started its first UAE project in Abu Dhabi. Building on the West View Hotel on Airport Road is scheduled to be finished in two years.

Reason for selection

"The developers selected us because we're the only car system that would get them 104 cars, in four basements, under a 20-storey apartment hotel. Essentially we're the only system in Abu Dhabi that has approval to put this system below an occupied structure," says Nash. Boomerang has also had requests from the government of Abu Dhabi.

"As part of the vision 2030 plan, Abu Dhabi is looking to increase the number of parking spaces that go into developments with a high water table, which can be very costly to do. Prices for real estate, labour and operating costs are going to escalate over time. The growing acceptance of automation and other applications, along with the increasing value of real estate, means automation is the best way to go," said Nash.

An automated garage also cuts the time spent looking for a parking space. In the case of shopping malls, both customers and mall developers stand to benefit from it.

"It's a better parking experience. I know several people would avoid certain malls because they know it's going to be a nightmare to park.

"They'll go out of their way and drive longer distances to go somewhere they know it's easier to find a parking space.

"If mall developers have people driving away because it's hard to park, it would be a good idea to install convenient automated parking," said Nash.
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