In the city of Hoboken, NJ the first Robotic Automated Car Parking Structure was built 312 spaces. There are now fifteen companies willing to produce automated parking structures for anyone with the money. In Boston, NYC, Adjacent NJ, D.C. area, Miami, Houston, SF, Los Angeles, Dallas Etc. Now then in DC a 74 unit parking structure is being built now. In March of 2002 in Vigo Spain a 400 unit structure was built with all the latest technologies. Many people believe that the 80 and under automated garages in high density areas maybe the most simplistic to build and best for the customer in that one movement unit or elevator is used at a time and usually not needed by more than 3 people waiting. Perfect for a site 100 X 180 feet.
There is still lots which can go wrong for instance motors, gearboxes, sensors, limit switches, wheels etc. Murphy works best with complexity of systems. The elevator units have been called shuttles by the industry. Automated parking structure units of less than 100 cars are probably only going to have one shuttle and if it breaks you car is stuck and so are you. Additional Shuttles are possible but this increases costs and has to have an ROI. Automated parking structures cost more per square foot and stall to build, but hey no one can vandalize your car. Right now even the planning commissions of most cities are not comfortable with the theory and waste time in approval and ask for weird compliance for earthquakes and other possible or potential problems. Go ahead and read this report for some idea of the concept.
My company, which is in the car wash business, has been watching this trend and wanting to work for the Automated Structure Companies now as they build these units rather than being shut out later with major parking structures not allowing us to wash there with our mobile units, due to design. These structure companies are designing systems that will put you car into a special area once per week and touch-less wash you car using one of the known brands of touch-less car wash manufacturers.
Robotic parking structures are similar to automated warehouses. The military used units for munitions storage, high-tech automobile robotic systems use a similar approach and it only makes sense that such technologies be applied to parking of cars due to space issues in high-property valued areas. The Europeans are way ahead of us on these things in Italy and Germany. Meanwhile many new robotic or automated parking structures have been established or are in construction in Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and also in Taiwan. In the United States we have many downtown areas in our larger cities where property values justify automated structures so you can expect these trends to continue.