Robo Parking Valets and Solar
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Unless taking public transportation, the headache of parking, especially in larger cities, has become inescapable. Parking garages alleviate this problem to a certain extent, but it can still take what feels like hours to find a spot, especially if it’s for an event that already has limited parking.
This problem, however, has started to disappear. Some airports and parking garages have started using parking robots.
These machines constitute a beefier version of the robots Amazon uses in its fulfillment centers. These robots organize and retrieve products for thousands of customers. They make it possible for Amazon to provide one-day delivery quotas. The accuracy and load capacity of Amazon’s robots have inspired companies like Stanley Robotics to create similar robots for parking.
Pros of Automating Parking Garages
While cutting down on driving has environmental benefits, it isn’t always the path people take.
Robots can now park cars for us. As Stanley Robotics has demonstrated, these robots provide a solution to both limited space and time.
Decreased Emissions and Robot Parking
This technology can decrease emissions by eliminating the need to find a parking space. Instead, the driver parks the car at the drop-off spot, and a robot takes it to a parking spot and retrieves it when the driver comes back.
An Efficient Use of Limited Space
These machines can strategically fit more cars in the parking area. When a robot drops off and picks up the vehicle, the doors don’t need to open, allowing the robot to park the cars closer together.
Save Valuable Time With a Parking Robot
Another advantage of having an automated parking garage is saving time. These smart parking garages allow people to drop off and pick up their cars. These robots cut down on time taken to find a parking spot, walk out of the parking garage, find the car, and leave the crowded parking garage.
A Safer Valet Service
Another perk of an automated parking garage is safety. A traditional valet service takes the car and parks it. The keys, however, often stay with the car and are then kept in a secure location. However, with automated parking, the driver always has the keys. They park the car and take the keys with them while a robot carries the vehicle to its parking space.
Drawbacks to Using a Robot Parking Attendant
Although robotic parking systems solve many parking frustrations, it’s not perfect. Two problems come to mind. The first is what energy source the robotic parking garage uses. A second problem is how it would continue to run during a power outage.
Power Sources for Parking Robots
Most people don’t think about what powers their lifestyle. However, the source of our power has become a controversial topic. Automated parking garages don’t work by magic — they have a power source. While the go-to place for power has become the electric grid, the majority of the electricity on the grid comes from fossil fuels. With this power source, emissions-conserving parking robots aren’t helping.
Robotic Parking Solutions and Power Continuity
Like a phone or computer, a parking robot needs a good charge every once in a while. Otherwise, at some point, the robot would stop working, which leads to a range of potential issues — namely the fact robots park cars tightly to conserve space. This would make it challenging for someone to get into the driver’s seat once the lot’s robot had run out of power.
Communicating with robots during an outage presents another problem. Smart parking garages utilize sensor technology in a variety of ways. All these technologies, however, rely on electricity.
Signs indicating available spaces, payment machines, and drop off locations all use sensor tech. If any of these devices got cut off from their power source, they would stop working.
How Solar Power Improves Robotic Parking Systems
Solar provides the perfect fix for all these automated parking issues. Solar power isn’t as harmful to the environment and with solar storage, such as battery backup, this option can provide continuous power. With solar storage, automated valet services have a dual purpose. They decrease car emissions and increase efficiency.
Solar and Battery Backup
Solar on its own can only provide power when the sun is out. However, this problem is mitigated with the addition of battery backup.
One of the best batteries on the market today is the Tesla Powerwall. These lithium-ion batteries have large storage capacities and a long lifespan. While not large enough on their own to power an automated valet service, commercial solar batteries like the Powerpack will do the trick.
Energy Savings of Solar
If you’re investing the time and money into robotic valets for your parking garages, that cutting edge technology will cut into your financial reserves. However, solar power not only provides a reliable power source and battery backup route to power continuity, but it also saves money on electricity bills.
The cost savings of solar provides another reason to switch from fossil fuels. With the help of solar incentives like the federal ITC, more people can afford solar than ever before, and commercial solar projects can write off 100% of their solar expenses if they own their buildings. Today the return on investment for solar has caught the eye of several large corporations, and many more are sure to follow suit.