car parking

Sensors precisely measure a car’s geometry so there is no wasted parking space

A Swiss company is trying to revolutionize inner-city parking with smaller structures and the use of robots and computers to make the process more efficient.

Wintherthur-based Skyline Parking has started construction of its first parking tower, which will allow its own employees to test the facility and show it to potential customers. The structure has a small footprint and can accommodate as many as 320 vehicles.

The system is relatively simple. As a driver enters the parking structure, sensors quickly measure the car’s dimensions. The driver is then instructed to turn off the engine, engage the parking brake and leave the vehicle.

Once he has left his car, the driver can witness how robots pick up his vehicle and put it in a high-speed elevator. Computer systems pick a spot in the parking structure that fits the dimensions of the car and wastes as little space as possible. The elevator rotates to find the assigned spot.

Skyline Parking cites parking speed, cost efficiency, reliability and short construction times for its parking structures as key benefits. Moreover, car engines are off as a parking spot is found, which avoids the waste of fuel usually associated with parking.

The company says that it can park 320 cars on 400 square meters. Traditional structures would require 12,000 square meters of parking space for a similar number of cars.

Privately held Skyline Parking wants to establish itself as the global leader in fully automatic parking systems by 2015.

It estimates there are 80,000 new parking garages built worldwide each year to accommodate the growth in the global car parc. The company sees high market potential in Asian megacities, but it first wants to fine-tune its concept in Zurich and western Switzerland.

More information on Skyline Parking can be found here.