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Automated Car Parking Systems A Historical Review

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By Author: Wohr Parking
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Automated Car Parking System

If you think automated parking systems (APS) are a modern innovation, think again. Just because we suddenly see a spate of car parking systems across cities worldwide doesn’t mean they are a recent development. Let’s take a walk down history to find out more about the origins and development of parking systems through the years.

According to The Mechanical Parking Guide 2011 by Leon Hamelink, the earliest reference of something akin to an automated parking system was the Garage Rue de Ponthieu constructed in 1905.
The systems consisted of a lift in the center of the structure to move cars up one or two floors. Attendants on the floors would then park the cars. While this would technically be considered a semi-automatic system, the Garage Rue de Ponthieu contained many elements found in modern automated car parking systems.

It’s hard to imagine that the early 1900s could have had parking problems. However, in USA and France, mass production of cars was underway and urban residents welcomed them as they considered cars desirable and environmental friendly.

Horses and horse carriages were the mode of transport then, and for urban citizens living in crowded cities, horses and their upkeep were inconvenient. Moreover, horse droppings made the city dirty and unhealthy. So consumers welcomed cars as cleaner, more convenient alternatives.

A ‘Paternoster system‘was built to park cars, around 1920. It was structured like a Ferris wheel that could fit eight cars in the space of two. The structure became popular as it was easy to operate and occupied less space. It could also be incorporated into a building. Concurrently, an APS with the ability to park more than a thousand cars were being installed by Kent Automatic Garages.

In the 1940s-50s, automated parking systems captured the attention in the US. Some of the systems installed then are still in usage today. These systems included Bowser, Pigeon Hole systems, and Roto Park. However, frequent mechanical problems and long waiting periods to retrieve cars led to a loss of interest in automated parking systems.

The UK got its own Auto Stacker in 1961 in Woolwich, London. In the 90s, while there were installations of more technically advanced APS in Europe, Asia, and Central America, Japan was building around 40,000 parking spaces annually, using paternoster APS. In the 2000s, economic prosperity in the USA resulted in a massive increase in the number of cars, reviving interest in APS. USA got its first robotic parking garage in 2002 in Hoboken, New Jersey.


Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050, the UN projects that figure will increase to about 70%. Whatever the actual figure ends up to be, one thing is irrefutably true: all of those cars and people will exert a heavy burden on our mobility systems and infrastructure.

Thankfully, automated parking systems are yielding greater convenience for drivers and less congestion for cities.

An automated parking systems company like Wohr Parking Systems is innovating and installing automated parking systems across India to help combat parking problems in this overpopulated country. Wohr has over 5 decades of experience and lakhs of multilevel parking installations to their credit. Wohr’s automatic parking systems deliver easy operations and a high level of operating and functional safety according to EN norms. Wohr also partners and consults to recommend, design and develop the most suitable parking system for individual needs.

More About the Author

Wohr is one of the leading manufacturers of car parking systems worldwide. For more than 55 years now, since the number of cars on the roads began to increase, Wohr has been designing and installing parking systems. And because we specialize in just parking systems, Wohr today is the company with the Most Extensive Product Range worldwide. With more than 600000 parking places installed, 70000 of these alone in Asia, the reliability and safety of Wohr systems speaks for itself. Innovations brought to market by Wohr such as the Combilift, Puzzle Parking, Park safe and Level parker systems, are an emblem of creativity and German engineering knowhow.

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