The Japanese company Giken is offering an infrastructure that swallows your car, parks it underground and returns it to you in less than 5 minutes. A solution for establishing parking areas where land is scarce and expensive.
For 50 years, the Japanese company Giken has been developing compact and silent pile driving solutions. This activity led first to the idea of designing a new kind of underground bicycle park. Called “Eco Cycle”, the infrastructure makes it possible to provide 200 parking spaces for bicycles without consuming any land, a rare and expensive commodity in densely populated cities. About fifty of these “bicycle booths” have been established in Tokyo and Osaka. But with time, the company envisioned extending the concept to a larger means of transport.
The car poses a huge problem: occupation of urban space. Used only 3 to 5% of its total life, it stays parked for 23 hours a day, on average. But car parks take up a lot of space. To make them more discreet, compact and install them all over the city, Giken has developed fully automated car parks, which make the most of every square metre. The first innovation is the shape. The vehicles are arranged in a star around a cylindrical centre, floor by floor. Each plateau serving as a foundation for the level above.
An automated service
Giken argues that car parking should be underground and that the space above the ground should be used for residential, recreation or the natural environment. This particular design makes total sense considering the car park’s full automation. No human intervention is necessary. To park, drivers don’t drive their vehicles. They just put their card in a reader and leave their car in the load lift at the entrance. The car park identifies an available space by itself and guides the car to it on a turntable that travels up and down, in four minutes maximum. Three initial “smart car parks” have opened in Japan. But Giken is already planning to export them to the US.