Automated car parking system refers to a mechanical system devised to park a large number of cars in minimum space available.
Similar to any multi-story garage, APS stacks cars on multiple levels vertically. This helps to maximize the space for parking and minimize the use of land. The APS is operated by a mechanical system to transport cars and therefore the need of drivers gets eliminated. APS can be conveniently called similar to an automated storage and retrieval system for cars. One of the earliest and most common types of APS is the Paternoster.
APS is basically divided into fully and semi-automated parking systems.
Fully automated parking systems are identical to robotic valet parking. The driver has to take the car till the entry area of an APS.The car has to be vacated, with the driver and all passengers out of the car. The driver does payment in an automated terminal nearby and he receives the ticket.
As soon as all the passengers leave the entry area, the car gets lifted by the mechanical system and is transported to a pre-determined spot saved for parking in the system. The fully automated APS, being more sophisticated, obtains the dimensions of cars and finds a suitable place for it. The operator tries to fit the car into the smallest parking space available.
The driver retrieves the car by inserting the ticket or code he had received earlier, into a terminal that is automatized. The car is lifted by the APS from the parking space and is delivered to the exit area. In theory, the basic purpose of a fully automated APS is to eliminate the need for parking attendants.
On the other hand, a semi-automated car parking system is also run on a mechanical system that is used to move a car to the parking spot. Still, taking the car into the system and its operation needs some help of the attendant/the driver.
The main differentiating factors between a fully and semi-automated APS are often space and cost. The areas with larger capacity, i.e. more than 100 cars, tend to be fully automated. Because of their comparatively smaller volume and mechanism, APS is mostly present in locations where a multi-story garage would be overly big, immoderately costly or unrealistic.