ParkPlus announced the opening of a new, automated parking structure designed to store more cars in less space and less time while eliminating parking lot accidents. The company says that this is the largest automated parking system on Manhattan Island in New York. It opened in December 2018 and offers robotically operated parking and retrieval for patients and visitors of a large hospital complex on the east side of Manhattan.

"Automated parking systems like this are an effective solution for urban areas where parking space is desperately needed," stated Ryan Astrup, Director at ParkPlus. "A conventional drive-through garage needs wide aisles for turning and maneuvering the cars. The robotic system is much more efficient, eliminating the need for much of that space. It can make use of lots that might be too small for a drive-through garage. This system provides 119 spaces in approximately 30,000 square feet on four floors. That's up to 30% more cars than a conventional garage."

The system is set up as valet parking, but humans only perform a small portion of the process. Visitors hand their keys to a valet who drives it into the loading bay, but from then on the automated system takes over.

The robotic transfer device, a low-profile handling mechanism (dolly), travels below vehicles and moves them onto a shuttle that travels the fixed-rail system. The shuttle travels on a lift to one of the four upper floors of parking and transfers the car horizontally to a pre-determined stall where the dolly unloads the car. Integrated software records all transactions and allows for remote monitoring for improved system performance and enhanced user experience. Vehicles can be parked in tandem up to three deep, and the system will automatically shuffle vehicles as needed. Retrieving the car is the same process in reverse, and takes about 90 seconds in most cases.

The parking system is integrated with the hospital's information system. Computer pads are located throughout the hospital where customers can pay for parking and initiate retrieval. The car can be brought down while the driver is still on the way to the parking structure, and is waiting when they arrive at the valet desk.

The parking system is contained within the walls of the hospital building. There is no "garage building" visible from the street. Systems of this type can also be built as freestanding structures and can have an architectural facade applied to suit the surroundings.

The hospital's valet set-up is an appropriate amenity, but robotic parking systems can be operated without human valets.