• Jan 30th 2007 at 2:32PM
  • 12
Robotic parking garages haven't caught on in the U.S. like they have in other developed countries. Perhaps that's because we're not as strapped for open space as other nations, or maybe its because the only robotic parking garage in the U.S. has dropped both a Cadillac Deville and a Jeep several stories and trapped its patrons vehicles inside for 26 hours because of a software glitch. We reported on that robotic garage back in August when a legal dispute between the city of Hoboken, NJ and Robotic Parking Systems, Inc. trapped even more cars inside.

In the Big Apple, however, space for parking is at such a premium that they're willing to risk the aforementioned pit falls to give this robotic storage-and-retrieval thing the old college try. A new robotic garage will open in Chinatown in early February that, unlike the Hoboken facility, stores its cars underground beneath an apartment building. Built by Automotion Parking Systems (click link to watch a demo), the Chinatown facility will be able to fit 67 vehicles where a traditional garage could only fit 24. Patrons can pay $25/day to park or $400/month, which the AP report tells us is competitive for NYC parking. Automotion claims there's a virtual impossibility of any snafus occuring similar to the ones that plagued the parking patrons of Hoboken, though time will certainly tell on this one.

As always, we here at Autoblog would like to extend our warmest greetings to our new robotic overlords, and just say that we look forward to becoming their sole source of power after we scorch the sky.

[Source: Associated Press]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      25 dollars is CHEAP. its $14 an hour on elizabeth st in chinatown at the edison park. to park for a whole day for 25 dollars, wow
      • 8 Years Ago
      #13 Are you dumb,Yes these people Designed this whole system and forgot about mirrors.Im sure these people that build these syetems are smarter then you and I and im positive that they thought about mirrors.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Looks like there'll be a lot of broken side mirrors in NYC Chinatown.
      • 8 Years Ago
      They're building a small-scale (9 parking spots) one of these in downtown Annapolis, where I work. It's a cool space-saving idea, though certainly not cheap to build. It's also really cool to watch the construction.
      • 8 Years Ago
      They say it takes less room for this device. I don't see it. The mechanicals are quite complex and would require substancial room. Even without ramps, the hydraulics, wiring and various motors will take up the same space.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Simon: Well, upper management would consider themselves "too important" to have to wait for the system to retrieve their car (it's not a particularly quick process) and would reserve or have built some surface parking for themselves. They're not going to pass up an opportunity to give themselves a financial or convenience perk.

      In apartment buildings with these systems, I think residents can usually call up their car when they leave their apartment, so the wait is minimized. Of course, your rude neighbor will call his car up before he pours his coffee and gets his coat, and his car will sit there in the pick-up area blocking the system from retrieving cars for the rest of the residents until he comes to get it. (I'm sure you could program in a maximum wait time after which it would re-file a car that's not picked up, but you see my point.)

      This is a viable solution where space is extremely tight, but it's not a perfect one. Besides, as a nation (myself definitely included) we're overweight... that walk to the car in the big office parking lot is all the exercise some people get!
      • 8 Years Ago
      re: dropping cars... the Cadillac is harder to figure than the Jeep, since all the De Villes are automatics. You can't get the key out unless it's in Park. I can see a manual transmission car rolling off some sort of platform if the system isn't designed well or if some safety feature is overridden by an operator. Idiots are amazingly devious, it's hard to design around ALL that they can do.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Is it just me or does the passenger side look a bit tight??
      • 8 Years Ago
      We need a law that makes this mandatory everywhere in America!
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is a good idea, but many people just don't realize that street parking can be found if you only know where (and when) to look for it. Knowledge is power and knowing ahead of time where to check for available street parking saves the driver time and money - less wear and tear on the car and less gas while finding a parking spot quicker (not to mention no garage fees). With only a little advance planning, you can also avoid streets where one may never park.

      This kind of advance planning works well for garages, too. By checking out a few of them in advance, one can save big money as the difference in price can be huge only a few blocks away. The $25 these automated garages will charge daily is decent - but not great. I have parked a short walk (less than 10 minutes) from Times Square on a friday night and it cost me $7. If I could've been at my appointment a half hour later, I would've parked for free on the street.

      Knowledge is truly power.
      • 8 Years Ago
      We should tell Sprawlmart to implement this in all their stores. No need to have parking lots 4 times the size of the store.
      • 8 Years Ago
      $25 a day in NYC is not bad. I pay that much in SF.
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