ParkPerfect is what you get when you bring the latest in magnetic propulsion technology and creative thinking to one of today's most pressing urban problems. The result is an environmentally friendly system that is far more reliable and efficient than either conventional parking or other automated systems.
The first comments we often hear (before we get to the "wow, that is incredibly ingenious and cool!" part) are usually along the lines of "you aren't saving any energy, all the savings from eliminated support infrastructure is more than spent on your machinery and mechanical system! Then there's the cost of all that maintenance and operations! And my car will be stuck when the system breaks!"
Our response? MYTH #1, MYTH #2 and MYTH #3!
It's all thanks to Linear Synchronous Motors (LSMs) so in order to debunk these myths, let's see how the system works.
LSMs: The Heart of ParkPerfect
SyncPark uses proprietary LSMs developed by our partner,MagneMotion Inc., to move metal pallets holding individual vehicles around a facility to open spaces or return them to an exit. With this approach, SyncPark can create compact, flexible parking installations that cost less to install than mechanical garages and have lower maintenance costs and are more efficient than either self-parking or traditional mechanical garage setups.
LSMs generate propulsive force by running current through a stator (the stationary part of the motor) which creates a moving electro-magnetic field above the stator. This electro-magnetic field creates thrust by interacting with a set of permanent magnets located on the pallet above the stator (which serves as the motor secondary, equivalent to a rotor in conventional motors that use rotary motion). As the electric current moves up and down the length of the stator, the permanent magnets react to the moving electro-magnetic field by moving the pallet to which they are attached forward and back along its track.
Vehicles are driven onto the pallet by the customer and shut off. The customer checks into a kiosk and then ParkPerfect takes over. The current that powers the LSMs is regulated and registered by a sophisticated control system incorporating state-of-the-art position sensing technology which allows ParkPerfect to know at all times where all the system's pallets (i.e. vehicles) are located. It therefore knows precisely what movements are needed by every pallet in order to move an individual vehicle from any point within the facility to any other location.
In less sophisticated terms, the LSMs "valet" a vehicle from the customer to a designated space then return it to the customer's exit of choice.
ParkPerfect can retrieve cars faster than a mechanical or attended garage even when many vehicles are called at once. No longer must customers wait for a mechanical carrier or robot to go back and forth to fetch cars individually, through coordinated synchronous motion, they come in a steady procession ready to fill each exit bay the second it is vacated. And no tip is expected.
For more technical detail, see our Tech Talk page.
The Structure: An "Erector Set" In Any Shape
The facility structure is a steel lattice or matrix with one or multiple levels. Other than the facility foundation, there's no need for poured concrete (though concrete flooring can be used if required). In areas that experience snow and ice, the garage would require some type of cover (rain is not an issue). The garage floor need not be perfectly level, because the cars will be on pallets that do not touch the ground.
Within the steel lattice, steel frames define multiple rows of parking spaces with multiple shuttles to move pallets and a turntable where it is not possible to have drive-through service to avoid collisions. Multiple-level garages will have at least two LSM elevators. Multiple-level garages could also have shorter heights on the higher levels, with taller vehicles parked only on the lower levels, saving overall space.
Each pallet has steel roller wheels on which they can roll into and out of spaces based on signals from the LSMs and the central control system. These wheels are the only moving parts of the propulsion component in the ParkPerfect System.
There is no theoretical limit on the number of spaces, either horizontally or vertically. Unlike mechanical parking, SyncPark can easily accommodate up to four rows of spaces on each side of the central aisle. Longer distances or greater heights actually reinforce the LSMs performance advantages because LSMs accelerate and brake more quickly than mechanical motors, offering much better performance in these configurations.
And there is also no need for the facility to describe a regular rectangle; irregular shapes and large floor plates can be readily accommodated.
#1 - "You aren't saving any energy, all the savings from eliminated support infrastructure is more than spent on your machinery and mechanical system"
Debunk: The cost to build a SyncPark structure is less than that for a traditional garage since you just need to build the lattice structure. There is no ventilation system required nor lighting nor security systems. There is no "machinery" in the traditional sense and the cost of the LSMs is competitive with traditional building materials that would otherwise be required.
#2 - "Then there's the cost of all that maintenance and operations!"
Debunk: LSMs are so efficient, they use far less electricity then traditional lighting. There is no mechanical machinery to maintain, the ONLY moving propulsion parts are the wheels on the pallets.
#3 - "And my car will be stuck when the system breaks!"
Debunk: One of the many beauties of ParkPerfect is it resiliency and ability to continue operating even if an individual LSM breaks down (which is highly unlikely). Pallets have enough momentum to continue motion over a faulty LSM. Although some efficiency will be lost, the system will continue to operate and the central control can re-route pallets around the problem area as needed. By the very nature of the system, it cannot experience catastrophic failure, rather to the extent problems arise it will experience what we call "graceful degradation."
The US Navy Trusts LSMs
If the US Navy trusts LSM technology to handle its' most sensitive ordnance in combat, then we think it's a good bet it can take care of your vehicle. The Navy has started deploying LSM systems and elevators throughout the fleet to handle their day-to-day operations.
The Advantages are Clear
ParkPerfect as compared to conventional methods:
Fewer components subject to wear
Acceleration and braking not dependent on friction
Increased speed, acceleration, efficiency
More precise position control
Can move vertically as well as horizontally
Eliminates the need for a mechanical elevator
Multiple pallets can use the same elevator¯ shaft
No need to have propulsion power and control on the vehicle, the pallet is passively propelled by the LSMs
Able to control multiple vehicles on complex trajectories as there is no need to transfer communication or control signals to a moving vehicle