By now, you’ve probably heard that self-driving cars may one day become mainstream technology. Before that happens (if and when), we have to figure the answers to several key questions, including: Where will they park? It’s one thing for a car to drive itself, but where it will go when driving time is an important consideration.
According to Car And Driver, Tesla introduced the Summon parking feature back in January. With Summon, many newer Tesla vehicles are able to park themselves. You can use your smartphone or key fob to “summon” your car. The cars will open garage doors, enter the garage, park, and then shut down before they are summoned again. Tesla isn’t the only car company with self-parking in mind, but the subsequent “ripple effect,” as Car And Driver calls it, will eventually affect parking garages everywhere. But, first, it will hit one parking garage in Nashville.
That’s where developers are making what is likely the first-ever U.S. parking structure designed specifically with self-parking cars in mind. There, cars will be able to park themselves and also connect to transportation networks.
Car And Driver writes, “Within the next two to five years, experts believe these technologies will begin to alter what drivers need from a parking garage. Further out, as that transition continues, existing structures may need to be retrofitted, and new ones rethought from the ground up. In Nashville, planners are trying to get a head start.”
Brian Weight, founding principal of Town Planning & Urban Design Collaborative, which is the company leading the Nashville garage, said that an investment group is financing the project.
The garage may be able to squeeze self-parking gars into spaces as narrow as 7 or 6.5 feet wide, compared to the traditional 9-foot width. That means more cars in a single garage, which would also mean savings for builders, homebuyers, garage renters—maybe everybody. If cars can be summoned remotely, garages might be able to moved out of high-cost real estate areas, instead of being located in or near downtown areas. There are just some of the possible benefits of self-parking garages.
There’s a lot more to the story. Read the rest of the Car And Driver article here for more in-depth information.
(H/T Car And Driver.)