Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/11/robot_car_parks/

Robots en route to Dublin car parks

Droids to park your car

By Emmet Ryan

Posted in Bootnotes, 11th June 2007 09:05 GMT

Irish drivers could soon come face to face with powerful robots. There's no need to worry though, they only want to park your car.

Sky Parks Projects has developed the Sky Parks Robotic Parking Systems (SRPS), a parking system that uses autonomous robots and lifts to park and retrieve cars. These car parks are designed to make parking a simpler procedure for drivers.

SRPS uses robots to collect cars from a parking module before moving horizontally in each parking level and vertically using lifts until the car is delivered to a parking space. The same system is used to retrieve the vehicle and the car is always delivered facing the exit.

Despite sounding like something out of an episode of the Jetsons, there is a practical motivation behind the development of SRPS.

"The rationale behind it is to more effectively use space in car parking," said Tony Corcoran, managing director of Sky Parks. "The system can fit more than twice as many cars in the same space as a traditional car park." SRPS removes the need for driveways and ramps meaning the floor area and the volume of the parking station itself can be more efficiently used.

Sky Parks has already fitted the system into car parks in Australia, Hungary and Scotland. Last month the system was fitted into the Cartier head office in Paris. The technology used by the SRPS has been around for 10 years and Corcoran told ENN the time is right for Irish developers to implement the system.

"It is eminently suitable for many locations, particularly in Dublin where space is at a premium," he said.

The new robotic system is designed to give car owners more peace of mind by providing extra security to their vehicles. There is no public access to cars and the risk of accidents such as fender benders and scraping is reduced. The SRPS can carry vehicles of up to three tonnes; meaning people carriers and other large vehicles can avail of the system.

Sky Parks is a UK-based firm and the SRPS is a €20m development. SRPS was first designed by Swedish engineers at the beginning of the 1990s and the first pilot scheme of 124 spaces was built in Hallsberg, Sweden in 1991. After designing and building several more Sky Parks systems throughout the world, manufacturing moved from Sweden to the UK in 2001, and the latest systems have all been shipped from the UK. Sky Parks have recently opened offices in Dublin and Dubai.

© 2007 ENN