When planning a condominium project, developers try to maximize the usage of the condominium property. Since parking takes up so much space, robotic valet parking systems have been developed so that the number of parking spaces in a garage can be increased by reducing garage ramps, driving aisles and pedestrian stairwells and elevators, and by reducing the size of each parking space.

Here is how it works. Instead of residents driving to and parking their cars in a designated parking space, they would leave their car in one of several designated bays. Using lifts, the car is then taken by computerized equipment to an available spot in the multi-level garage. To retrieve their cars, owners wait in the designated waiting area until the car is delivered to one of the bays. As the cars are not driven into the spaces, no allowance is required to allow people to open doors to enter and exit the vehicle. This means that the size of each parking space can be reduced, allowing for more spaces than would exist in a conventional garage. Systems like this are also touted as providing more security for both individuals and cars as nobody is walking around in the garage.

Sounds like a great system! However a Miami condominium with such a system found that it did not work efficiently. Instead of speedy delivery of the cars, residents complained that it took too long to retrieve vehicles, (especially during peak periods) causing them to be late for work and appointments. Unfortunately the company that installed and operated the equipment then made a Chapter 11 re-organization filing. The condominium association was left with a non-conventional parking facility and needed to find another operator to run and maintain the automated system.

As land in urban centres becomes more scarce and the technology for robotic parking systems becomes more reliable, these types of parking systems may become more prolific in new

condominiums. Time will tell!