Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Automated Parking systems rely on technology similar to what is used in manufacturing and warehouse facilities worldwide for cost effective movement of materials, pallets, etc.

Automated Parking uses computer-controlled vertical lifts and horizontal shuttles or robotic valets to transport vehicles from an arrival area to a remote compartment for storage without human assistance.

It depends on the system. But in essence, the driver’s experience of an automated parking system begins as the driver drives onto a platform and parks their vehicle with the help of sensors. The user gathers their belongings and exits the vehicle.

There are many benefits to automated parking systems. One benefit is that you can fit twice as many vehicles or more in the same space utilized for a conventional garage or use half or less the real estate space for the same number of cars.

Other benefits include less excavation for below grade garages or more leasable/sellable square footage for above ground garages.

Many green aspects are inherent to Automated Parking systems such as additional open space for parks, elimination of carbon emissions, no water/oil runoff, etc.

In addition to the smaller building size and increased parking capacity, Automated Parking Systems virtually eliminates vandalism, theft, weather damage, misplaced vehicles and provide a valet type experience when parking your vehicle.

Most Automated Parking Systems tout retrieval times of 2-3 minutes. However, depending on type of system, technology, and configuration, this number could vary when several people arrive at the same time requesting vehicles from the same area of the garage.

Automated Parking Systems provide true redundancy with multiple elements controlling the same process to provide alternatives in case of a component failure.

Automated Parking Systems can be equipped with a stand-by generator when there is a power failure. An automatic transfer switch ensures a seamless transition to stand-by power within a few seconds.

Most Automated Parking Systems servers are not only equipped with UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply), but also with a true hot swappable redundant server that has all information instantly available to continue seamless operation.

Automated Parking Systems are designed from the very beginning with exactly this in mind, how to overcome any possible machine failure so the car can be retrieved no matter what the situation. Different systems take longer than others to rectify the situation. This design point is represented in the system architecture, its redundancies and flexibilities.

Due to the modular flexibility, automated parking systems are designed and built as few as 6 spaces to thousands of parking spaces. The technology has no limit on the amount of cars that can be parked.

Most Automated Parking systems are designed to accommodate standard vehicles including most SUV’s having a max length of 19’ (5791mm) and width of 7’6” (2286mm) with heights and weights that very from system to system. Also most companies can accommodate any size vehicles with modifications.

Depending on the type of system, overhaul should be carried out after 15-20 years of operation.

In a pallet based system every car is placed on specially designed pallets, which excludes the possibility of any liquid dripping on the car, located on the level below.


Most pallet-less systems usually use solid concrete floors eliminating this occurrence.
Based on the existing building codes the maximum noise levels shall not exceed 60 dB at a distance of 6’ (2 meters) away from the building. The noise level of the mechanisms used in most Automated Parking Systems do not exceed 50-52 dB at a distance of 6’ (2 meters) inside the parking facility, so the system is virtually noiseless.

Automated Parking Costs

This is another “it depends” answer. The cost per space of a Automated/Mechanical Parking System depends on several factors:
1. The layout of the project
2. The type of system being used
3. The total number of parking spaces needed
4. The required throughput of the system
5. Where the project is located at geographically
These variables are of equal importance in the equation for project estimate calculations and can result in prices ranging from $9,000 to $45,000 (USD) per space.
Much more important than just comparing construction costs are the overall development costs. The illustrations below give you a good idea of how Automated Parking can impact any development
This of course varies depending on the type of system.
With the elimination of parking attendants, heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting requirements for public access. The cost to operate an automated parking system is drastically reduced in most situations.
The following is a good rule of thumb for the ongoing operation of Automated Garages.
For an open air garage a 20% reduction in operation costs can be realized.
For a closed garage needing ventilation the reduction could be as high as 50%.
Considering that Automated Parking systems are fully automated the presence of permanent staff is not required, but in some cases (given the novelty of the product), the presence of one or two technicians on the premises is suggested upon opening for a short period of time.
Most manufacturers offer a maintenance program which includes onsite preventative maintenance and 24×7 remote monitoring of the facility, where available.
This price varies by system, but the range is about $20 – $25 per space/per month.

Structural Questions

Although not usually needed, most Automated Parking Systems would require in addition to the actual storage volume, a Control Room, Lobby/Waiting Room, Electrical Room, Pump Room, Generator Room, and Storage/Maintenance Room for spare parts are needed.
The size of these rooms will change based on size of system.
Most Automated Parking Systems can be stand-alone, below a building, or above a building as long as there is clear access and staging to the drop-off and pickup bays.
Automated and Mechanical Parking Systems can also be retrofitted into existing buildings.
Most Automated Parking Systems can be used in both a steel or concrete structure.
For most systems, the façade and roof can be attached to the Automated Parking System supporting structure and do not need be free standing.
This is not an issue with Automated Systems that use concrete structures.
Most Automated Parking garages recommend temperatures ranging from -22 F (-30 º C) to 122 F (+50 º C).

Accessibility and Security

As long as the drop-off/pickup bays are compatible with the requirements of the ADA – American Disability Act. Then all spaces within the garage are ADA compliant.
Safety and security are unsurpassed compared to any other parking scheme.
Consider that parking lots are the number one place where sexual assaults by strangers occur. Unfortunately self park garages are difficult to monitor and secure and therefore present an opportunity to would be robbers and assailants.
Even if no one is lurking in the garage, it can be an unpleasant experience to walk alone at night to one’s car in a large ramp garage.
By contrast consumers do not enter automated parking garages and occupied space is limited to a small central common area which is easy to monitor and secure.
In an automated parking garage, you can park your car with the piece of mind that no one has access to it. Because automated parking garages are unoccupied, many of the problems that plague conventional self park garages are eliminated:
  • Fender Benders
  • Door Dings
  • Vandalism
  • Theft of Vehicle
  • Theft of Vehicle Contents

Codes and Fire

Questions about fire fighting, fire alarms, standpipes, escape routes and ventilation requirements are described in NFPA® 88A Standard for Parking Structures 2011 Edition. Depending on local codes and regulations fire retardant paint may be required along with generally two sprinkler heads per parking space.
No, there is no need for full lighting of the system. Most Automated Systems are considered dark garages, since there is no human presence inside the facility. However minimum emergency and maintenance lighting will be required by local code.
If the customer chooses to run a dark garage, then IBC would require 1 lumen of light at the floor level for all egress pathways, which is basically the entirety of each floor.
For Loading Areas it is recommends 30 foot-candles of lighting to operate full D1 video at 30fps, though possibly less lighting might be required at kiosk locations.
The most recent NFPA 88A-A2010 specifies that “ an enclosed automated type parking structure shall be provided with a ventilation system that continuously provides a minimum of two air changes per hour.” (Conventional is 7 air changes per hour).

Patron Enter and Exit

Most Automated Systems provide an LED display positioned at the far end of the drop-off bay from the entry door, it will offer illuminated text and symbol directions to the driver that change in response to the vehicle’s positioning as the driver pulls in. This will occur the entire time the vehicle is being driven into the Loading Area. Once the vehicle is positioned correctly within tolerances to be stored, the display will direct the driver to stop. Assuming the driver stops within tolerances, the sign will then provide other helpful directions to facilitate the vehicle storage.
Most manufactures recommend that owners post adequate signage on approach which notifies potential parkers of System limitations, similar to that which would be normal for any other parking garage. Once in the bays the vehicle is scanned and measured. Vehicles not meeting the criteria due to weight, dimensions, etc. are not allowed to park within the garage. Some systems, at the owner’s preference, may also simultaneously offer audio verbal feedback.