Imagine using your smartphone to summon your car to exit the parking garage and pick you up at your front door. It may sound futuristic, but if a new system unveiled in London Wednesday is a success, the option may be just around the corner.
The federal government announced it’s investing $2.4 million in the world’s first automated electric-vehicle parking system. The tall carousel-like structure will function as an automated valet service for electric vehicles at London’s West 5 community off Riverbend Road.
Kate Young, the Member of Parliament for London West, made the announcement on behalf of Natural Resources minister, Amarjeet Sohi.
Young said it means residents will be able to park their electric vehicles in the parking garage and access them from their homes. “So we won’t have to go to the parking garage. The car will come to us.”
In a statement, National Resources Canada said the investment will demonstrate a new and innovative parking and charging system for autonomous and electric vehicles and “will test capabilities at a smaller scale to see if Canadian communities can support the technology.”
The automated parking and charging system is being developed by s2e Technologies, based in St. Jacob’s, Ontario.
Ady Vyas, the company’s VP of Energy and Mobility Solutions, said the firm believes climate change is the great man-made problem today that needs to be solved.
“I think we can make an impact by enabling easy adoption. And that’s our mission for this project: To enable easy adoption through autonomous solutions.”
Vyas said the project reflects “a radical rethink of our relationship with our vehicles,” moving away from the idea that every home will have a multi-car garage.
Vyas said his company is envisioning smart communities with car shares, electric and autonomous vehicles, centralized parking and EV charging.
The facility, to be built in London’s West 5 community, will be called Eve Park. It will consist of vertically stacked parking.
“The space of two cars gets converted into a parking tower which can house anywhere from 10, 12, 14, up to 16 cars,” said Vyas.
The idea is to maximize on land optimization. At Eve Park, the parking will be underground and unseen from the outside.
And, Vyas points out, this will be the world’s first automated parking structure incorporating electrical charging.
“We have 80 units that are being developed, and part of the offering is you pick up your phone, through our app, you request where you want to go, and the car can automatically come down to your front doorstep.”
Although vehicles aren’t licensed to operate autonomously on most Ontario roads, the test project will allow for the autonomous vehicles to travel from the parking garage to residential homes via private property to “create more freedom and convenience for the residents.”
Construction of the parking facility, which will also involve Sifton Properities and EllisDon, could begin as early as next spring.