Totally automated parking for only $14
Posted by evolvingwheel on February 3, 2008
Now this one got my attention from the perspective of mechanical automation in industrial scale. From the angle of idea generation, it’s nothing serendipitous – an automated parking lot where hardware (steel, levers, rollers, metal planks) integrates with software (logistic and arrangement). The combination parks your car without a human valet, stacking efficiently across different isles arranged vertically. But this same perceptive understanding gets challenging when you translate this idea to an industrial scale with high precision. The challenge is further amplified when you try to commercialize this new, extravagant mechanical system with a competitive pricing that beats the present day market. That’s where comes the real efficacy of a business solution that is empowered by sophisticated software, automated systems, and a possibility of reducing the carbon footprint by delivering a relatively greener process.
This automated marking system in Manhattan, NY is not the first one in the world and neither it is the only one. I just happened to come across this article a little later. What made me post this news is the realistic implementation of a sci-fi idea that was floated around in i-Robot where we saw vertical stacking of cars right off the parking meters. If you watch the videos in the links given below, you will really appreciate the engineering accomplishment in developing a decently large mechanical system that operates with a very high degree of accuracy in a constrained spatial degree of freedom.
Read the links with the videos:
However, there are some questions that came up in the feedback sections of one of the blogs talking about this robotic parking. Some of the concerns are very good pointers for future scaling issues. This NYC parking puts 67 cars in one place and loads them up serially. But what would be the interesting thing to wonder about is when the demand goes up and you have a long queue of cars waiting to getting parked. This is a operational hurdle and the system will be tested for robustness when these issues become realtime business revenue drivers. May be they can consider a different architecture with loading points at different sections of the building. Now that would create the challenge of precision being controlled by the software. You will need a very very sophisticated application that will move the cars from all directions (vertically and horizontally) without colliding. One feedback was to create a adjustable spot that configures according to the size of the car (horizontally ofcourse). Well, that is the next step to a really complex system of the future.
Some stats for an interesting perspective: (from http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.12/start.html)
Parking by the Numbers
• Number of vehicles entering Manhattan on weekdays: 948,213
• Number of curbside spots: 30,000
• Average parking-ticket fine: $115
• New York City revenue from parking violations last year: $537 million
• Cost to park for 30 minutes at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street: $21
• Cost of a subway ride: $2
• Average speed of crosstown traffic in Midtown: 6.1 mph
• Average speed of subway: 13 mph