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Frequently Asked Questions

System Questions

What type of Robot-Park™ systems do you offer?

In Japan where the system was developed the manufacturer offers both rectangular and circular automated systems. we will initially be offering the round automated Robot-Park™ system. These will be available as Ø18 / Ø20m underground, elevated or semi-submerged towers.
Specializing in round Robot-Park™ systems allows us to offer a product tailor-made to our customers’ requirements.

Why is the Robot-Park™ system round and not rectangular?

• Efficient use of floor space;
• Extremely compact;
• Shorter construction period;
• High resistance to external forces.

What is the maximum number of floors and cars per floor?


Standard Ø18m system:   10 cars/floor; up to 60 cars/system;
                 Parking Ratio:   as low as 4.23m²/car;
Custom Ø18m system:     10 cars/floor; 70 to 100 cars/system;
                 Parking Ratio:   as low as 2.54m²/car.


Standard Ø20m system:   12 cars/floor; up to 96 cars/system;
                 Parking Ratio:   as low as 3.27m²/car;
Custom Ø20m system:     12 cars/floor; 108 to 120 cars/system;
                 Parking Ratio:   as low as 2.62m²/car.

For 480-500 cars 5-8 sets can be implemented:

60 cars/system x 8 sets = 480 cars.
This 480-car system requires 254m² x 8 = only 2,032m² of available land;
96 cars/system x 5 sets = 480 cars.
This 480-car system requires 314m² x 5 = only 1,570m² of available land;
100 cars/system x 5 sets = 500 cars.
This 500-car system only requires 254m² x 5 = only 1,270m² of available land.

What happens if my car is too big for the system?

Our Standard Robot-Park™ system accommodates ±95% of cars on Japan's roads;
The basic height is checked before the vehicle enters the parking enclosure;
Once inside, strategically-located sensors measure the vehicle before the robot transports it to a storage bay. If it fails to meet specific criteria it won’t enter the system;
Larger vehicles can be accommodated by our Custom Robot-Park™ system.

How long does it take to park and retrieve a car?

The following are approximate loading and retrieval times of a 50-car Robot-Park™ system (cars per entry lane per hour):

• ±45 seconds to store a car (after pressing the activation button);
• ±70 seconds to retrieve a car;
• ±2 minutes to store and retrieve a car;
• ±30 cars per entry lane per hour (storing and retrieving).

Where required, the above figures can be reduced by implementing our High-Speed system.

Your website mentions a pallet. What is a pallet and why do you choose this method?

The following relate to our Round Automated Robot-Park™ system:

Firstly, what is a pallet?
  • Each storage bay is allocated a pallet on which the car parks. In principle this is basically a steel plate forming the floor of the storage bay (it also prevents contaminants from dripping on the cars below);
  • After the customer presses the activation button the central robot retrieves a pallet from a vacant storage bay and takes it to the waiting customer in the parking enclosure. The driver then parks on the pallet, switches off the engine, applies the handbrake and exits the car;
  • The central robot then delivers the car to a vacant bay within the system.
Secondly, why this method?
  • We developed two methods to transport cars to their storage bay: a pallet and a comb-shaped floor (non-pallet);
  • Although higher speeds are possible when choosing a non-pallet system, we are able to satisfy customer demand by implementing the less complicated pallet technology;
  • The simple design and trouble-free operation of our pallet technology is the strength of our Robot-Park™ systems;
  • Pallet technology also offers optimal cost vs. performance benefits.

Why does a 6-floor above ground system accommodate 58 and not 60 cars if there are 10 cars per floor?

This ‘discrepancy’ affects the ground floor in our elevated system; also know as our Robot-Park™ ‘Super’ or ‘Semi’ model. It is caused by the location of the entry/exit lanes and machine room.

  • When entry/exit ramps are on the SAME SIDE, the ground floor accommodates 2 cars less: 1 car less on the entry-ramp side, and one car less on the machine room side.
  • When entry/exit ramps are on OPPOSITE SIDES, the ground floor accommodates 3 cars less: 2 spaces are taken up due to the entry/exit ramps PLUS 1 additional space for the machine room.

What is the parking ratio of the Robot-Park™ system?

We assume you mean the number of m² per car? The Robot-Park™ system is incredibly compact and efficient; the following ratios can be realized:

  • 2.62 - 4.23m² per car
  • Including ramps conventional car parks require 30 - 40m² per car.

User/usage Questions

I’m not good at reversing, how do I get my car out of the small parking enclosure when I collect it?

The Robot-Park™ system was designed to provide a pleasant and relaxing parking experience for the driver, and the car:

  • When parking in a Robot-Park™ system there is no need to reverse;
  • The central robot automatically rotates the car as it retrieves it. Once in the parking enclosure it will always face forward, ready to be driven out.

How do you deal with several drivers wanting to park/retrieve their car at the same time during peak-hour?

  • Firstly, the Robot-Park™ solution should match the anticipated vehicle volumes;
  • Correctly matching the system will dramatically reduce the waiting period;
  • Individual vehicles approaching a Robot-Park™ complex will be directed to the next available parking tower, thanks to our integrated sensors and software.
  • Possible driver irritation may be alleviated by a monitor showing the cars being manipulated within the system, or showing the remaining time;
  • In Japan such monitors are frequently used at traffic lights.

Emissions and the Carbon Footprint

I’m interested in doing my bit for the planet, how does the Robot-Park™ system contribute?

In a Robot-Park™ system ZERO emissions are released after the driver has parked his car on the pallet, at which point the central robot automatically conveys the car to a vacant parking bay within the system. This cannot be said for a conventional parking garage:

  • Research conducted at Paderborn University in Germany found that 160m are covered between the time the average car enters and leaves a conventional parking garage. This car emits 37.12mg/m³ (32.41 parts per million [ppm]) of Carbon Monoxide (CO) for every meter driven, discharging an astonishing 6g/m³ (5,186 ppm) of CO while in the parking garage;

    Negative effects of CO:

    • As little as 100ppm (0.01%) CO results in a headache after 2-3 hours;
    • 800ppm (0.08%) CO can result in death within 2-3 hours.
  • In a conventional parking garage of 500 cars, ±3kg/m³ of CO is discharged into the air while cars travel to and from a parking bay. Most is extracted by high-capacity fans, impacting on the environment, the rest negatively affects the health of all within the parking garage;
In case in South Africa

5 x Robot-Park™ complexes collectively parking 14,776 cars, strategically located at an average of 12km outside Cape Town CBD and integrated with the proposed BRT system would reduce daily CO emissions over Cape Town - caused by incoming/outgoing traffic - by a phenomenal 13 tons!

[(37.12mg/m³ x 12,000m) x 14,776 cars x 2 = 13,163,642g or 13 tons]

Carbon Monoxide and Climate Change facts:

Roof-Mounted Aerials

My car has a roof-mounted radio aerial, can I still use the Robot-Park™ system?

Most modern cars no longer have the aerial mounted on the fender, instead they are now integrated into the rear windscreen or mounted on the roof. Fortunately roof-mounted aerials can be unscrewed as would also be the case if the car went through an automated car was.

Robot-Park™ systems have an integrated video-screen warning system which will warn the driver to remove his aerial before initializing the parking operation.

Construction and Space Saving

What is the construction period for the average 50-car Robot-Park™ system?

Elevated Tower:

Can be completed approximately 4 months after work has started on the foundation:

  • Basic foundation construction:   1 month;
  • Steel framework installation:      1 month;
  • Robot installation:                    2 months.
Underground Tower:

The manufacturer’s project in Taiwan was completed approximately 8 months after work began on the foundation:

  • Basic foundation construction:   5 month;
  • Steel framework installation:      1 month;
  • Robot installation:                    2 months.

How much soil is removed when excavating for an underground tower?

The figures below are based on a 1.75m height per floor:

  • Ø18m, 254m², 10 levels, 100 cars:  ±4,500m³
  • Ø20m, 314m², 8 levels, 96 cars:     ±4,400m³

This is almost 55% less than what needs to be excavated when building a conventional underground parking garage (see next question). In our case, construction is further restricted to 254 and 314m² respectively.

How much space does a conventional underground car park for 96 cars take up and how much soil needs to be excavated?

  • A conventional car park for 96 cars requires approximately 60m x 47m (2,820m²), including the ramps and lanes;
  • Approximately 9,870m³ (60m x 47m x 3.5m) of soil needs to be removed, almost 120% more than when excavating an Ø20m Robot-Park™ system.

How much floor space is saved if I install a Robot-Park™ system?

  • A conventional car park of 96 cars requires ±2,820m² of floor space;
  • A Ø20m Robot-Park™ system parking 96 cars only requires 314m² of floor space;
  • ±2,506m² of space becomes available for shops, restaurants, offices etc. (see image).

How many Robot-Park™ Systems can be accommodated in a space of 2,820m²?

  • The above area would accommodate SIX Robot-Park™ systems.
  • 576 cars could be parked in an area currently accommodating 96 conventionally-parked cars.

The space saving is phenomenal; if I’m planning a conventional parking garage I would need 6 levels to park 576 cars!

  • Yes, six levels and an incredible ±16,920m² of floor space!
  • If you install six Ø20m Robot-Park™ systems parking 576 cars you only require 1,884m² of floor space (314m² x 6);
  • 15,036m² becomes available for commercial exploitation (offices, restaurants, shops etc.);
  • The space saving is even greater if the Robot-Park™ systems are underground as the visible parking enclosure is only slightly bigger than a double-garage.

Possible Rental Income from the Reclaimed Space

If I were to implement several Robot-Park™ systems how much rental income can I expect from the additional available space?

In Cape Town the average monthly commercial rental rates are currently (October 2009):

  • Cape Town CBD: R 160/m²
  • Century City:     R 110/m²
  • Tygervalley:       R 125/m²

As per the above example an average annual rental of R 24 million can be expected if the ‘free’ 15,036m² is converted to commercial space.

I’m planning a building where I can expect to rent all available parking bays to monthly parkers, surely that will provide me with a good return?

Parking rates in the Cape Town CBD vary but R 900/month can be taken as an average (October 2009).
Let’s take the above example:

  • 576 cars x R 900       =  R 518,400/month;
  • 15,036m² x R 132/m² =  R 2.0 million/month;

The above R 2.0 million/month would be additional to the hourly/monthly parking fees derived from the Robot-Park™ complex.
The figures speak for themselves!
Additional parking leads to more visitors to the area. If rentals are linked to turnover the profits are even higher. In areas where real estate is limited building conventional parking garages no longer makes financial sense.

Maintenance Questions

Can cars still be retrieved from a Robot-Park™ system in the event of a major breakdown?

Yes, the Robot-Park™ system can be operated automatically, or manually;

  • If the Robot-Park™ system malfunctions the cause is established;
  • If the fault is software-related, control can be regained by switching to compulsory manual mode which allows cars to be retrieved wirelessly from above. This simple procedure is performed without an operator entering the vehicle storage bay;
  • If the fault is hardware-related the Robot-Park™ system is operated in manual mode and the defective parts repaired/replaced;

Common wear items are included in our Recommended Parts List.

What do you mean by operating the Robot-Park™ system manually?

In Automatic mode the Robot-Park™ system depends on numerous sequential automated cycles.
In Manual mode each cycle can be isolated and operated manually by simply pushing a button;
Simple faults can be traced and solved this way;
Manual mode allows cars to be retrieved in an emergency.

What is the breakdown rate of your Robot-Park™ system?

Generally speaking, there are no breakdowns. The mechanical components and software are extremely reliable. However, as with any machine, regular maintenance is very important. Six inspections per year are recommended.

  • If a serious earthquake where to hit while the central robot is moving the system may stop;
  • If regular maintenance is skipped for an extended period the system may malfunction.

Our thoughts on the issue of automated parking systems are as follows:

  • The machine which never fails does not exist.
  • As the parking system manufacturer we ensure the latest technological advances are engineered into our product. We feel this is critical, assuring our customers of the following:
    • Reduced failure rate;
    • Extended maintenance intervals;
    • Reduced system downtime;
    • Consistent manufacturing quality;
    • Professional problem-solving.

In addition, information and feed-back provided by the end-user plays an important part in our ongoing Research & Development.

Architectural style of the Robot-Park™ System

Won’t the towers be an eyesore?

  • The visible structure of an underground Robot-Park™ system is no bigger than a double-garage, it could be integrated quite easily into new developments serving the needs of new patrons accessing the area;
  • Elevated systems can be integrated harmoniously into the environment to match surrounding buildings and architecture;
  • The Robot-Park™ system is extremely compact; it is designed to accommodate the car, not the driver. As a result the height of each floor and the overall tower height is substantially reduced.

Power Questions

What are the electricity requirements?

Based on a 6-floor 60-car Robot-Park™ system:

  • 220V, 60Hz
  • 49KVA
  • 38KW.

What about backup power in case of a power failure?

  • In Japan backup generators are not a legal requirement;
  • However, backup generators may become necessary in locations where the power supply is irregular;
  • Our software includes an emergency setting which alters the frequency of the electric motors. This eliminates the need for a costly high-powered generator/backup solution;
  • The rating and type of power generator should be discussed with the customer investing in the project.

Combining a suitable backup solution with the reduced motor frequency allows cars to be retrieved even if the power fails.

Lifespan and durability of the Robot-Park™ system

What is the expected lifespan of a Robot-Park™ system’s central robot?

Japanese tax laws allow such a device to be written off over a period of 15 years;

Our Robot-Park™ system may remain in service for 35 years or more, provided a regular maintenance schedule is adhered to:

  • Minor service = every 2 months
  • Major service = once a year

Six inspections per year are recommended.

How durable is the Robot-Park™ system?

Rust prevention:
  • Iron components should be prepared and coated with 2 to 3 layers of suitable paint;
  • The robot/elevator portion is protected by a baked enamel coating providing protection against seawater;
  • Periodical maintenance of the robot and structure are of prime importance. Regular greasing and painting are required for optimum protection;
  • If the system is to be exposed to severe salt spray the structure may be zinc-plated and parts of the robot may be electroplated. Stainless steel may be used for selected components or stainless steel covers may be fitted.

We are able to accommodate almost any operating environment.

Fire Management

Is a water tank required for the sprinkler system in case of fire?

It depends on whethre there is such requirement by law in your country. Please check.

In Japan fire management methods are ranked as follows, according to cost (highest to lowest):

  • 1. Integrated CO2 (carbon dioxide) dispensing system;
  • 2. Integrated H2O (water) sprinkler system;
  • 3. Portable spray-type fire extinguishers (powder).

Japan is known for its stringent building regulations due to the high prevalence of earthquakes. As a Japanese system, what are the legal requirements concerning air conditioning and fire prevention within the structure, as applicable in Japan?

  • The above are required by Japan’s strict construction regulations;
  • However, if the system is not glazed and the height is less than 8m these regulations do not apply;
  • Drivers and staff do not enter our system; the law is therefore not as strict;
  • Laws applicable to such parking systems may differ outside Japan.

Operating Environment

What is the recommended temperature range for the Robot-Park™ system?

In Japan this ranges from -15°C to 40°C (5°F to 104°F).
In Europe this may drop below -30°C (-22°F) in winter.

We possess the technology and know-how to plan for all temperature extremes.

Operators Manual

Is your Robot-Park™ system supplied with an Operators Manual?

Yes, each system ships with an Operators Manual.