SINGAPORE - Drivers headed to the Central Business District may have a robot as their next valet. By the end of the next year (2018), the redeveloped Robinson Towers will feature a new automated system that makes use of robots to park cars.
Guided by lasers, cameras, as well as markings on the ground, the robots will ferry cars - with a maximum weight of 2,600kg - from a drop-off point to the nearest available parking space.
Developed by engineering firm MHE-Demag, it is believed to be the first application of the technology in Singapore.
Unlike other mechanised parking systems the system does not require steel supporting structures or parking pallets, said MHE-Demag sales and markets regional director Klaus Schilling. Parking pallets are platforms on which cars are placed on before moving them.
"No additional building provision is required for the system and it can be adapted into a conventional parking provision in any building development easily," he said.
The parking fee will be "similar" to other carparks, he added.
At CapitaGreen, across the road from Robinson Towers, it costs $3.10 per half hour to park between 7am and 6pm on weekdays.
Conventional mechanised parking systems - which use mechanical car lifters to carry a car to a storage space - can be found at several locations in Singapore, including three Housing Board car parks at Changi Village, Yishun and Bukit Panjang.
During peak periods, retrieving a car from these carparks can take about 10 to 15 minutes.
MHE-Demag's system offers "relatively faster" parking and retrieval times, said Mr Schilling, adding that the average time to retrieve a car - which is done using a mobile app - will be about two minutes.
The firm is also looking at introducing the technology at "several other locations", which it did not disclose. It has also started to introduce the technology in other countries in the region including Malaysia and Indonesia.
While the firm declined to say how much the system will cost, a similar system by Chinese firm Yee Fung Automation - introduced in Nanjing, China in December last year - is said to cost around $200,000.