Innovation | Automated Parking

Caroline Winter

LLUSTRATION BY MCKIBILLO

Form and function A fully mechanized garage that parks and retrieves cars in minutes, using pallets that move vertically and horizontally through a grid to cut the space needed roughly in half.

Innovator Paul Stolzer

Age 87

Title Founder and owner of Stopa Anlagenbau, a German maker of automated systems and machines

Dropoff When a driver parks on a pallet, lasers confirm that the car fits. The driver exits and swipes a credit card at a nearby ticket machine.

Origins Stolzer developed the pallet system in 1974 to store steel beams. Stopa partnered with New York-based Automotion Parking Systems in 2005 to bring automated parking to the U.S.

U.S. Projects Automotion’s 700-car Brooklyn garage, slated to open by 2017, will cost about $50,000 a space to build. The design saves on excavation, ventilation, and lighting.

Sustainability Unmanned parking eliminates exhaust. A park is planned atop the Brooklyn garage.

Pickup The pallet whisks the car underground after the door shuts. Another card swipe retrieves the car, rotated so it arrives facing the street.

Next Steps Automotion has built three garages in New York City (priced to compete with nearby parking) and is building 15 more in North America. It’s received more than $8 million in investment from real estate firm American Development Group.

“It’s like a vending machine for cars.”

— Ari Milstein, executive director for Automotion Parking Systems

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