Autostacker vs. Automated Parking Systems
Automated parking systems are the next big thing in the parking industry. They bring setbacks, however: large investments that need to be made in infrastructure, the potential for catastrophe if they don’t work 100% correct, 100% of the time, the length of time they take to become profitable, etc. There’s good reason to believe these systems won’t be widespread in the immediate future. But they’re coming.
How they work
Automated parking structures are massive, digitally and mechanically controlled parking lifts. Hundreds of parking spaces might be held in a single structure. A customer will drive his or her car onto a platform, and the structure will automatically lock the wheels to keep the vehicle safe. Stepping up to a terminal, the customer receives a ticket. That ticket corresponds to the vehicle platform, which gets automatically sent into the structure, retrieved only when the customer enters the ticket and pays.
What they offer
We’ve been hearing a lot about self-driving cars. They’re supposedly going to be safer and get us places faster. Likewise, automated parking garages are like “self-driving parking lots.” They’re really not in the same category as commercial parking lifts, but they might be your competition going forward, so you should know about them. Keep in mind that parking is a $100 billion dollar industry. Automated garages fit more vehicles in less space; anyone who tells you this sector of the economy is going to shrink or disappear is missing the big picture.
The problem with superstructures
These aren’t mom-and-pop parking lift lots. To give you a sense of the scope they require, a recently build fully automated parking garage in West Hollywood cost $18 million to plan and construct. That’s far more than your run-of-the-mill parking garage, which might cost around $8.5 million. On the other hand, an automated superstructure can house more vehicles in less space. So, if you have the money, a city councilor somewhere might have the time to consider your proposal.