Thinking about next level parking in South Africa


You know those times when you’re driving around in circles looking for a parking in Cape Town, and it feels like you’d have a better chance finding a unicorn?

Yep, our beautiful city sure has some serious parking issues. If it’s not circling the city for an hour, its idling in the street hoping someone is about to leave a parking bay. And with each new building that goes up the situation just goes from bad to worse.

Much like the rapid advances in technology, the parking experience is changing for people, particularly those who reside in bustling cities across the globe. The design and technology of parking is making waves and gaining fierce popularity. A whole new range of smarter, higher density parking solutions is being introduced through a company called Auto Dock.

The idea was sparked by the need to create and design parking systems that can fit double the number of cars in the same space as a traditional parking system. Depending on the parking system used one can park 16 cars in the space of 2. The utilisation of space is what sets the parking designs apart from traditional parking spaces. While there are many innovative parking designs, the rotary parking design is what stands out the most. It is a low-end vertical reticulation parking facility that is characterised by its compact mechanical structure. It is so compact, it can be installed in the smallest of free city spaces.

The parking designs and systems aren’t only magically space efficient, they’re also a lot quicker, safer and less hassle for drivers. You simply drive into a parking garage entrance, turn off your car, lock it and leave. A fully automated system does the rest. The car gets lifted up on a secured pallet and swiftly shifted to its optimum position with a series of mechanical lifts and sliders – all with perfect safety and reliability. With computer monitoring and touchscreen integration, it is possible to manage with minimal manpower.

Property developers together with businesses can now add innovative parking solutions to their building designs. For e.g. it’s easy to double the number of cars that can be parked in any given volume of space. You not only land up with more real estate to sell or lease, as well as more bays available, but your cost per bay is dramatically reduced.

For those who are extremely paranoid when parking, be it underground or outside shopping malls, the parking system eliminates any mental paranoia as there is far less door to door and bumper to bumper accidents. As a customer you are no longer driving down what feels like a never-ending spiral and again reduces the risk of vehicle dents, scratches, collisions or property damage.

In addition, the system brings a unique convenience that is similar to a high-quality valet parking operation. While South Africa does not have a valet parking culture, the system speaks to the sheer convenience and saves time. Vehicles can generally be retrieved far quicker than it would take a driver to walk to his car and negotiate his way out of the garage.

With escalating levels of violence in South Africa, one of the most striking benefits of using a parking system of this nature is a driver never has to enter a parking garage – day or night. This means that cars are inaccessible to criminals and eliminates the need for expensive security patrols and surveillance, and keeps monitoring costs to a minimum.

Additionally, the parking system is suitable for hospitals, medium and large buildings as well as residential structures as there is no operation noise or vibration. It is a versatile system that is simple, robust, highly reliable and can easily be matched to building design. It sounds really high-tech and futuristic, but this technology has been used abroad for over two decades and has been thoroughly refined and perfected.

While the parking technology addresses the issue of limited space within city centres, it also prides itself on the fact that it is environmentally friendly, a key consideration that was factored into the design to reduce fuel emissions. Over 400 parking systems has been installed in over 10 countries. Its now time for South Africa to change its parking experience.

Roi Lagrisi is the CEO of Auto Doc, an automated parking system company based in Cape Town, South Africa.