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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Welcome to the future: Take a peek into Singapore's first robotic valet service

MHE-Demag’s Automated Guided Vehicle parking solution uses a laser-guided positioning system for navigation and retrieval.

In the 1990s, automated car parking was largely just a discussion about possibilities. Having your car parked by a robot was something that we thought would happen only ‘in the future’. With the introduction of MHE-Demag’s Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) parking solution, we have essentially brought the ‘future’ to this region.

MHE-Demag’s AGV parking solution is a significant technological advancement. It involves employing a robot to help drivers park their cars. In simple terms, it is like having a robot as your valet. Imagine heading to a shopping mall where you drive into a car lift, get out from your car and hand your vehicle over to a robot. The robot then manages the entire parking process for you, while you are free to go about your day. When you are done, all you have to do is just swipe your card and the robot will deliver your car to you. You can also ‘order’ your car through an app, which will bring it closer to the exit point, resulting in a quicker collection of your car.

Sleek and sophisticated
The AGV, which is substantially more advanced and sophisticated, works differently from other mechanical parking systems. For instance, besides the hassle-free parking, the average retrieval time for a car parked with the AGV parking solution is 2 minutes, as compared to conventional multi-storey car parks, which take around 10 to 15 minutes.

Unlike conventional automatic parking systems, which require conveyor belts or lift systems to transport the cars, the AGV does not require physical tracks for the transport vehicles. Instead, the AGV uses a laser-guided positioning system to navigate using markers or wires places in the floor.
The AGV is small. Therefore, it is able to shuttle in various direction and narrow driveways. It provides flexibility in car park layout and allows for more efficient use of available space. The AGV works on all types of cars (Sedan, SUV, and MPV) weighing up to 2600 kg and sizes up to 5.25m (L) x 2.15m (W) x 2.0m (H). This is a standard dimension of AGV parking solution.

Conventional parking systems depend highly on human behaviour when it comes to traffic control, safety, logistic, and others. AGV is able to simplify the process by minimising human involvement thus saving time, ensuring better traffic control, providing more efficient logistic management, and greater safety.

A history of innovation
MHE-Demag has a long and proud history of being a leader in the material handling industry. Established in 1972, MHE-Demag operates within a close-knit regional network in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and Australia, supported by 11 manufacturing facilities and over 70 sales and service offices across Asia-Pacific.

Apart from automated parking systems, MHE-Demag offers a comprehensive range of industrial cranes and hoists, warehousing equipment such as lift trucks and dock levellers, aerial work platforms and building maintenance units (BMUs) for safe working at height.

MHE-Demag introduced the AGV to this region in 2016 and Singapore is the first country to have adopted it. The AGV parking system in 18 Robinson is targeted to be completed by Q4 2018. The parking solution will provide 90 parking lots, distributed evenly over the five basement floors. The entire system is controlled and managed by a computer network, which allows a high degree of flexibility. It is capable of switching operation modes to adapt to different requirements in the day, for example, to cater to peak or morning rush hours as well as less busy hours in the afternoon. In addition, the AGV parking solution that will be installed has the ability to park cars in longitude (parallel) & traverse (reverse) directions simultaneously (dual direction parking), which is impossible with other systems. 

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