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Self Parking Garage

Email claims that attached photographs depict a new and very efficient type of "self parking garage" located in Munich, Germany (Full commentary below).

Images are genuine - Description is false

Example:(Submitted, April 2008)
Subject: May we park your car? self parking garage

May we park your car?

Talk about German efficiency!

The two photos above were taken at a new parking garage in Munich.

The actual space that the facility occupies is approximately only 20% of a comparable facility with the traditional design that is used primarily in the US

Not only is the German structure less expensive to build, but vehicles are also 'retrieved' in less time and without the potential of being damaged by an attendant.

Self Parking Garage 1

Self Parking Garage 2

According to this message, attached photographs depict a new, highly efficient, public car parking facility located in Munich, Germany. The message and images suggest that the motorist's vehicle is "self parked" by an automated hoist system that safely deposits the car in one of an array of high-rise cubicles and then quickly and safely retrieves it when the customer returns for pick up. However, although the photographs are genuine, the accompanying description is not accurate.

The facility shown in the photographs is not a public parking garage nor is it in Munich. In fact, it is a storage facility for new Volkswagen vehicles located at the Autostadt, in Wolfsburg, Germany. The Autostadt is a sprawling complex operated by the Volkswagen Group that comprises a variety of attractions, tours and restaurants along with facilities aimed at customers who have arrived to collect a newly purchased vehicle. Part of the new car collection procedure involves the retrieval of the vehicle from the "CarTower" shown in the above photographs. Information on the Autostadt website notes:
The next steps in the procedure are automatic: a lift in one of the CarTowers selects the correct vehicle and conveys it to the centre of the tower from where it is gently lowered to the ground floor. Thereafter the new car rolls through a tunnel into the Car Distribution Centre.
Autostadt visitors can also take a tour of the CarTowers:
Visitors to the Autostadt are now able to experience the CarTowers from the inside! A special glass, panorama lift takes six guests through the same procedure as one of the 800 cars stored in the CarTowers. Until recently the glass-encased steel construction of the CarTowers was closed to the public, now the inside of the Autostadt’s most well-known landmark can be explored from top to bottom.
Even without knowing details about the structure shown in the photographs, more observant viewers would quickly notice that all the vehicles appear to be the same make and none have number plates, thus immediately casting doubt on the claims that it is a public parking garage.

Thus, as is the case with many other email forwards, it seems that some prankster has simply invented an interesting explanation to go with some intriguing photographs.

But, for the record, automated "robot" car-parking garages do actually exist. One such facility in New York City uses an automated elevator system to park the cars of patrons. An AP article published on notes:
The driver stops the car on a pallet and gets out. The pallet is then lowered into the innards of the garage, and transported to a vacant parking space by a computer-controlled contraption similar to an elevator that also runs sideways.

There is no human supervision, but an attendant will be on hand to accept cash and explain the system to baffled humans.
The Emirates Financial Towers, a large construction project underway in Dubai, will incorporate an automated car parking system that will contain 1,200 car spaces.

The Autostadt
CarTower Discovery (TurmFahrt)
Robot Parking Garage to Open in New York
The Emirates Financial Towers signs contract to build the largest automated car parking facility in the world

Last updated: 1st May 2008
First published: 1st May 2008

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen