“A car is a (wo)man’s best friend.” When it comes to selecting transportation, the car remains the number one choice. It offers the highest comfort and independence, giving people more mobility during a time where long commutes are becoming normal. With automated parking being a relatively new and unexplored concept, there can be a lot of skepticism among users when handing over their preferred mobility tool to a robot. Near fail-proof systems are demanded; however, this is only one example of the importance and benefits of test facilities with automation vendors.
8 reasons why test facilities are important and beneficial for automated parking solutions
1) Efficient project implementation. A test facility allows the testing of different system setups and storage strategies and the actual project layout can be simulated. This enables the most efficient project implementation, ultimately saving on-site costs down the road.
2) System reliability. Prior to the system’s delivery, it is extensively tested. Undergoing a simulation of numerous storage and retrieval movements helps to identify any of the system´s weak spots and eliminate them prior to installation on site. Thorough off-site testing also provides invaluable information used for determining service, maintenance and life cycle costs according to the system´s throughput. This also gives important insights for future projects.
3) Durability. Test facilities can test equipment under extreme situations. This is crucial for wear and tear of parts such as guide rails, rack systems, concrete components, etc. Thus, the right quality components can be selected which enhances the working life of system components resulting in lower through-life costs for clients.
4) Material testing. Due to the requirements of a certain site, materials may need to be tested—more durable components may be necessary. A test facility provides the opportunity to try new materials and methods in a controlled environment.
5) Quality assurance. With a test facility offering the possibility to check a system’s durability and reliability, and to test software and material upgrades, the highest quality of the automated parking system can be assured at all times.
6) Cost-efficiency. Vendors can research different material compositions that could reduce costs while increasing quality and strength. This price advantage can be passed on directly to the customer. At the same time, testing prior to delivery naturally results in lower after-sales costs if errors can be detected in advance.
7) Responding to recent technologies. The automotive market is constantly looking for innovative solutions for a more sustainable way of using vehicles. Parking will have more functions in the future than just holding space for a car. In a test facility, solutions such as wireless electronic vehicle charging (WEVC), or combining functions such as a car wash system, can be tried out and brought to market.
8) User education. Although often simpler to use than a car wash, automated parking is a totally new experience for many users and investors which can cause confusion. In a test facility, the entire parking process can be shown in a unique and transparent way, dispelling any doubt regarding the system´s usability, safety, comfort and reliability.