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Donnerstag, 25.02.2021
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A number of companies offer automated, robotic garages, although adoption, especially in the United States, has been limited thus far. That could change as cities become more populated, and greater emphasis is placed on increasing the efficiency and sustainability of transportation systems.

There is no doubt that robotics is playing an increasingly prominent role in modern life. It seems that every day more aspects of daily life become automated, yet some instances of automation still seem foreign to most of us. Robotic garages, for example, seem like something out of the future, yet they are already in use today.

According to Robotic Parking Systems, Inc., the term “robotic parking” first emerged in 1994, and the first automated garage opened in 2002. Despite the technology being nearly two decades old, many have not heard of it. Despite the concept’s age, as yet there has not been widespread adoption.

That is beginning to change. The world in 2002 may not have been ready for automated parking, but 2021 is. Below we will review robotic garages and what lies in store for them.

The Current State of Robotic Garages

While robotic garages today are not unheard of, they are still relatively rare, especially in the United States. Since the U.S. is the third-largest nation by landmass, the need for more efficient parking systems is not pressing. In other, smaller countries in places like Europe, automated parking has a long, successful history.

Definitions of a “robotic garage” vary, so it is challenging to find a definitive number for how many robotic garages exist in the U.S. One company, U-tron, operates eight fully autonomous garages across the US. Large cities like New York feature several private robotic garages, but by and large, this technology is mostly unavailable to the general public.

Private parking garages are typically expensive and exclusive, often appearing in luxury apartment buildings or similar complexes. In contrast, in countries like Japan and Germany, automated parking facilities are more accessible, appearing in both private and public spaces.

While current robotic garage adoption in the U.S. may be lackluster, that will not be the case for long. Many types of automated parking systems are available from companies such as Worldwide Robotic Automated Parking, Westfalia , LT Smart, Automotion Parking Systems, Park Plus.

Residential vs. Commercial Garages

Americans are no strangers to automation, especially when it comes to everyday conveniences. While large-scale robotic garages may be a luxury to most, many U.S. families have automated features in their home garages. Going from smart home garages to commercial robotic ones is a natural progression, but one with some obstacles.

It is far easier to automate a home garage than an entire parking facility. Smart home garages feature automatic doors, but they are not designed to park cars autonomously. There is also the issue of size and usage. Commercial garage doors, for example, need to withstand up to 50,000 cycles, five times more than a home system.

The U.S. also has a elatively low population density, especially considering its overall population. As a result, comparatively more people have garages in their homes, so there’s less need for commercial garages, much less new ones. Several trends will likely change the country’s parking needs in the future, though.

The Rise of Robotic Parking

Robotic garages will become increasingly popular in the U.S. over the next several years. The nation is beginning to reach a point where it needs them. While population density is comparatively low now, it has been steadily rising for decades, making land more valuable.

By 2050, 89% of the U.S. population will live in urban areas, which are already far more densely populated than rural ones. Large cities are running out of room, and they can only outwardly expand so much. Automated garages, which take up far less space than traditional solutions, are ideal in this situation.

Perhaps the most significant advantage of robotic parking is that it saves space. When people park cars, they need plenty of room to drive and pull into a parking space. An autonomous garage can fit vehicles into tightly packed cubicles, requiring only enough room for the machinery to move.

Since robotic garages can fit more cars into less space, they free up room for other structures. Cities could simultaneously expand parking and office space with minimal disruption and outward expansion. This trend is why more densely populated nations were so quick to embrace automated parking, which is now coming to the U.S.

Robotic Garages and Smart Cities

Another trend shaping the future of robotic garages is the rise of smart cities. As IoT technologies have become more advanced and affordable, the idea of a connected city has become more plausible. These systems work better the more connected infrastructure they feature, and robotic garages are ripe for connectivity.

Since technology is already the central aspect of autonomous parking facilities, adding connectivity features is easy. These garages can also be retrofitted to older, obsolete buildings, helping cities become smart without building new structures. Once there, these systems interact with traffic data and driverless cars to create a seamless, interconnected experience.

Efficiency is one of the most desirable features of a smart city, and robotic garages are highly efficient. Since drivers do not have to pull into parking spaces on their own, they save commuters time. Being able to fit more cars in the same area also means people have a better chance of parking close to their destination.

Since large cities have the biggest carbon footprints, smart cities aim to be more sustainable. That is another area where robotic garages fit the smart city ideal. Since people don’t have to drive around to find a spot, they emit fewer emissions.

Temporary Garages

There is a possibility that parking garages as a concept will be entirely different in the future. Cities could prefer flexible solutions over rigid, single-purpose infrastructure, or garages could disappear altogether. In either case, robotic garages would be a better near-term solution than traditional ones. For example, in 2019 construction teams in Seattle began work on a robotic garage that can be disassembled easily. The cubicles and machinery that make up the garage can come apart in pieces, allowing for quick repurposing of the space. Temporary structures like this may become the norm for robotic garages in the future.

With temporary garages, cities could increase parking in different locations according to current needs. If there’s an event in one part of town, they could set up a robotic garage, then take it down afterward and repurpose the building. Cities would then become fluid, adaptable landscapes, fit for the flexible modern world.

There is also a chance that, as cities grow and sustainability becomes more popular and necessary, car ownership will decline. If city populations move away from private transportation, the need for new, automated garages will decline.

Challenges in the Road Ahead

There are still some road bumps in the future of robotic garages. Most notably, installing these systems is initially expensive. As with most automation cases, they lead to long-term savings, but the upfront costs may make some cities hesitant to embrace them.

Robotic parking may not become the norm, but despite these challenges, it will continue to proliferate. At the very least, it will stand as an alternative to traditional parking solutions. This shift may not be a fast one, but the U.S. will likely see adoption levels like Europe and Japan eventually.

Despite Slow Development, Robotic Parking Is Promising

Robotic parking garages have had a surprisingly long history, and it is far from over. U.S. adoption of this technology has just begun and is likely to rise. As such, they could play a central role in designing the cities of the future.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Rose Morrison

Quelle/Source: Robotics Business Review, 08.02.2021

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