The Future of Parking Garages is One of Efficiency and Automation

Finding parking in a busy area of town takes a lot of time and brings a lot of frustration. But circling the parking lot like a vulture will soon be a thing of the past. With the new autonomous technology flooding the car industry, our cars will be able to park themselves before we know it.

Google and Tesla have been in the self-driving business for years now, but Toyota has recently joined the game. As the world’s number one auto-maker in sales, Toyota has announced that it will invest more than $1 billion to develop its autonomous technology, despite its 2014 statement announcing the company’s refusal to produce self-driving cars. This change of heart came with the company’s hope to stay relevant and stay on top.

Toyota has come a long way since 2014 and is now a real player in the autonomous game. One Toyota model currently on the market with self-driving technology is the Toyota Camry. As the best-selling sedan in America, the Toyota Camry offers impressive self-driving features for its price-range. The Camry technology package is equipped with lane departure and blind spot warning systems, rear cross traffic alert, and collision mitigation technology.

With big companies such as Toyota joining the self-driving technology race, parking garages will also need to shift in order to accommodate and take advantage of these new developments. As developers anticipate these advancements in car technology, there are a few improvements they need to consider while drafting plans for future parking garages. These changes include location, passenger drop-off, and smaller slots.

Where to Build

With the new advancements in pilot parking, there will be no need for endless circling of parking lots while the big meeting or the blockbuster movie starts without you. Autonomous cars can park themselves and allow individuals to spend less time hunting for a parking spot and more time doing the things they want to.

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With self-parking cars hitting the market, parking garages no longer need to be adjacent to popular destinations. These innovative parking garages can be built miles away on cheaper property. Building parking garages on remote locations will save on building costs and reserve more room for other businesses on prime real estate property.

What to Add

Thanks to driverless technology, humans will never need to step foot in a parking garage again. They can drop themselves off at their destination and send their Toyota Camry on its way to park itself. That being said, developers need to consider a new layout for parking garages and their nearby attractions.

If the parking garage is located adjacent to a shopping district or other busy location, then developers should include a designated passenger drop off section before the entrance of the garage in their building plans. This will allow passengers to exit the vehicle and proceed to their desired destination while their car finds its own parking spot.

What to Improve

After dropping off their passengers and heading to the parking garage, self-driving cars will require smaller parking slots. This is due to needing less room for passengers to exit the vehicle once parked as well as the car’s ability to be more precise at parking. With smaller parking slots, parking garages can house more cars while taking up less space. This will decrease the amount of money invested into building parking garages.

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Many architects, cities and developers believe that autonomous cars will improve the efficiencies of parking garages, as well as save time for passengers. In the past, where there was parking there was traffic. However, it’s possible that self-driving cars will be used as a taxi-like service, causing fewer cars to be owned and less parking to be needed. This will free up traffic on the roads nearest to popular destinations.

Autonomous technology is quickly advancing and parking garages will soon do the same. By improving the location, adding a passenger drop-off, and creating smaller parking slots, parking garages of the future will be more efficient at meeting the needs of consumers.

Rick Delgado is a business and technology consultant and writer based in Utah.