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GlobeSt- Robotic Parking Can Benefit CRE

By Carrie Rossenfeld

SAN DIEGO-Wes Guckert has been hard at work giving presentations on robotic parking, most recently at the ULI Spring Meeting here last week. Guckert, CEO of the Traffic Group in Baltimore, spoke to financiers and developers about how robotic parking is a technology whose time has come, “and that’s because of its impact,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

“Robotic parking is very, very green,” says Guckert. “It’s a timesaver for people using garages and parking lots. It is now commercially viable economically for anyone who has anything to do with land use and parking.”

Land use for robotic parking is reduced by 20% to 50% because robotic garages don’t need space for driving cars to and from their spaces. Vehicles are transported from the entrance to their space and back by robotic automation and elevators, which requires less space than a traditional garage. Therefore, the footprint for a robotic garage is considerably reduced, allowing for garages in spaces that would be too small for a typical garage.

Guckert says that instead of the 120 x 240-ft. space needed for the ramping of a typical garage, robotic garages only need about a 60-ft.-wide space. “You’re not limited by the normal shape of a parking garage, so you can work in different types of land parcels. It allows for use of leftover parcels that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to use—now you can use them for parking.”

In addition to using less land, robotic parking is cleaner because the vehicles aren’t running when they’re being moved to and from their spots, reducing exhaust emissions and brake dust in the garages. And these garages reduce opportunities for car theft—because thieves can’t reach the vehicles—and violent crimes. Guckert says that 40% of all rapes occur in parking garages, “and that just goes away.” Also, car damage is reduced because human error is virtually eliminated in robotic garages.

The uses for building owners—particularly owners of medical-office buildings, apartments and condominiums—are dramatic, Guckert says. “From a LEED perspective, it’s fabulous for building owners and helps them be good corporate citizens.”

While the technology has been used in warehouses for the last 50 years for moving pallets of products, it is just now catching on as an option for parking garages. There are only a handful of major robotics companies that have built garages in the US, but the trend is catching on in Mexico, Dubai and other technologically advanced countries.

Videos on how robotic parking works can be viewed by visiting the Traffic Group’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/1985traffic.

GlobeSt.com