How does intelligent parking work

Narrow parking spaces, unclean air and an uninviting atmosphere: multi-storey car parks have a bad reputation. In the future, however, the image could change. Gradually the colossi are starting to think - and making life a lot easier for motorists.

And imagine it like this: the car comes to a stop at the entrance to the parking garage. The driver gets out, locks the lock and leaves - although the parking lot is still a long way off. No reason to worry. From now on the parking garage takes over. An automatic system transports the car to a suitable parking space. Meanwhile, the driver is already strolling through the shopping street, going to the supermarket or taking care of other matters. No tedious search for a parking space. No tricky maneuvers. No dirty exhaust air that rises in the nose.

Dresden is doing pioneering work

What sounds like a vision of the future is already a reality. A fully automated multi-storey car park has been in operation in Dresden since 2004. Covering an area of ​​36.5 by 17.4 meters, it offers space for 192 vehicles on six floors. The parking process begins in a large transfer room where the driver parks the car. There the vehicle is weighed and cameras measure the vehicle. The car then arrives inside the building on a pallet. There a crane takes over the transport to a suitable parking space. As in a warehouse, the transport system sorts the cars into parking boxes.

In 2015, car park and parking lot operators earned around 1.2 billion euros in Germany.

Intelligent parking garages are a rarity in Germany. But automation and autonomous parking options are gaining in importance. In view of the numerous advantages, this is hardly surprising: Automatic parking garage systems compensate for the human risk factor. They reduce the likelihood of accidents with personal injury or sheet metal damage. They relieve health and also reduce the risk of attacks.

Space-saving and barrier-free

Smart parking garages also save space. There are no areas for entrances and exits or pedestrian alleys. The facilities are also handicapped accessible because people with reduced mobility do not have to overcome any barriers. The disadvantage, however, is that the conveyor system can only transport a limited number of vehicles at the same time. This can lead to bottlenecks in the reception and output of vehicles. The comparatively high costs for construction, maintenance and repair are also a flaw.

"Ray" takes care of it

Drivers also enjoy the advantages of intelligent parking garage technology at Düsseldorf Airport. However, the system works differently. A robot, "Ray", controls everything. It looks like a high-tech forklift truck that reaches under a vehicle with two support arms. He reads the car in a transition station and maneuvers it to the parking space, hovering a few centimeters above the asphalt. He does it so intelligently that, according to the Bavarian developer, “Ray” can accommodate up to 60 percent more cars in parking garages specially designed for him. Several robots are in use in Düsseldorf to ensure that everything runs quickly. Drivers can use these, but do not have to.

Despite the space saving, "Ray" is fighting for acceptance. A spokesman for the Düsseldorf airport admits to the German press agency (dpa): "The parking robot was so far used at around 60 percent, in normal operation more like 30 to 40 percent." Entrusting your own car to a computer: apparently Thought that some motorists aspire to again. "Ray" can be activated via smartphone and can quickly provide passengers with the respective vehicle shortly after landing in Düsseldorf. According to the spokesman, "Ray" has slowly built up a permanent customer base.

Startup enables indoor navigation

In addition to systems for automation, other concepts are also attracting attention - the GPS technology from the startup “NAiSE Solutions”, for example. The Stuttgart-based company is expanding the GPS network with the help of special devices - including in buildings or in areas where there is currently no GPS reception. This is also the case in parking garages, which previously left a black mark on navigation maps.

GPS technology in the parking garage

The hardware - a device that looks like a WLAN router but sends out a GPS signal - can be installed in parking garages and guide motorists using the navigation devices in their cars. This makes it easier to find a parking space. Founded in 2017, the startup is funded by the EXIST funding program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

The networking of parking garages will also play a greater role in the future. Ideally, they ensure a strong connection between local public transport, bicycle and car traffic - for example with bicycle stations, charging stations for electric cars and parking spaces for car sharing vehicles. There is no shortage of ideas to help parking garages achieve a renaissance - and to promote their change from uncomfortable concrete construction to safe and intelligent mobility hub.

Images: iStock