Now, robot car-parks to save space

Automated parking is set to become the norm, given that apartments or commercial spaces lose their appeal without adequate parking.



In land-scarce and expensive metro such as Mumbai, parking space assumes great significance.

Developers of large corporate and residential buildings are increasingly finding it difficult to meet customers' parking space requirements.

The pressure on demand has ensured that manual parking is giving way to robotic or automated parking, with machines that park cars and retrieve them in about 90 seconds flat.

Mr Mayur Shah, Chief-Sales, Ackruti City, says it is all about space management. Commercial property clients want one car park for every 500 sq. ft of built up area while developers were earlier allotting one for every 1,000-1,500 sq. ft.



Space-saver

With commercial property prices being what they are -- at Mahalaxmi prices hover between Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000 a sqft, while at Andheri East it is in the band of Rs 10,000-14,000 – space saving offers major advantage.

Apart from convenience, robotic car parking systems save space. In case of a basement, space utilisation doubles with a robotic system as driveways are eliminated. Even more space is saved in a multi-storeyed configuration.

Mr Sandeep Kulkarni, Vice-President, Sales, Wöhr Parking Systems, said it has sold over 3,000 systems last year, with 1,700 in Mumbai.

He said Wohr is commissioning an underground robotic parking system to house 2,500 cars in a commercial complex at Bandra Kurla Complex, . Besides metros, smaller cities such as Kochi, Trivandrum, Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad are looking at the system.

The residential segment preferred semi-automatic ones, factoring in cost and volume.

In case of multi-level parking such as the one Ackruti City has built in Mahalaxmi, the 20-storeyed facility with Wohr's system can accommodate 240 cars, while the base land area can house no more than 60, given the turning radius needed for manual parking. Ackruti has built it under a municipal corporation scheme for public parking, under which it has to be handed over to the civic body in five years.

HOW IT WORKS

The system is totally automated, with the cars driven onto a computer-controlled platform, a car lift then lowers, raises or moves them sideways in and out of the park. Robotic eyes or sensors detect the dimensions of the vehicle after the attendant on duty swipes a card for an e-ticket. The area of parking lot is 1,056 sq metre with 12 slots n each floor. It can be switched to a manual mode in the event of a system snag.

Ackruti also has a Rs 12 crore, multi-level underground robotic system for 350 cars at its commercial building at Andheri East. Car owners have a secure swipe card that ensures security. The has 100 per cent power back-up and fire safety measures.

At another commercial complex, the developer plans to accommodate 750 cars and the system is designed to cover an area of five lakh sq ft. The cost of parking system is about Rs 17 crore.

ALMOST A NORM NOW

Mr Anand Gupta, Managing Director, Choudhury & Choudhury, said robot parking will become a necessity in a few years' time, given buyer demand and the norms of the civic body.

On an average, the municipal corporation insisted on 1.5 parking slots for every apartment of about 650 sq. ft, he said.



However, buyers for two and three BHK were demanding two car slots and it is near impossible to provide them under open or covered area.

For his 382-unit residential project in Kalina, he has gone in a five-level basement parking system to house 900 cars, two for each apartment plus 10 per cent addition for visitors.

The parking facility comes with mechanical car washing bays too. A large driveway at the ground level ensures that at least 25 residents can ask the lobby staff to bring up their cars before they step down from their homes in the 15-storeyed complex.

Each parking lot is about Rs 7 lakh. The cost of the system is Rs 30 crore with civil construction cost adding up to Rs 35 crore.

No one today will buy an apartment even at half the cost if proper parking facilities are not provided, says Mr Gupta .

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