Shuttle systems utilize autonomous shuttles and elevators to park and retrieve vehicles. The number of shuttles in the system is typically flexible and is based around the client’s throughput and budgetary requirements. The shuttles move horizontally in a shuttle lane, which is either a recess in a solid floor or a set of rails in a steel or concrete structure, to a designated location. A robot, or pallet exchanger, or conveyor belts, located on the shuttle then park or retrieve a vehicle at the designated location by moving the vehicle from or to the shuttle and the parking space.
Typically there is a single row of vehicles either side of the shuttle lane but for increased parking density a second row of vehicles can be added. The retrieval process for the second row of vehicles is slower than for the first row as the robot has a longer distance to travel to retrieve the vehicle and there may be a vehicle parked in the front of the vehicle to be retrieved, which has to be removed before the vehicle in the second row can be retrieved. A third row of cars can be added but the retrieval process is very slow.
When a vehicle is required to be moved from one level of the system to another there are two options for achieving this, one with vehicle elevators and the other with shuttle elevators.
When vehicle elevators are used a shuttle moves adjacent to a vehicle elevator and deposits the vehicle on the vehicle elevator platform. The vehicle elevator then moves the vehicle to the designated parking level and another shuttle collects the vehicle from the vehicle elevator. In this option shuttles remain on their assigned levels, therefore at least one shuttle is required per parking level which can make redundancy an issue if only one shuttle is used per level. The system throughput can be very high when vehicle elevators are used in this configuration.
When shuttle elevators are used the shuttle moves with the vehicle on to a shuttle elevator located at either end of the shuttle lane. The shuttle elevator moves to the designated level whereupon the shuttle with the vehicle moves off the shuttle elevator to a designated location. In this option the shuttles are free to go to and from any level in the system allowing for fewer shuttles than parking levels and greater redundancy. However the shuttle elevators are often the system bottlenecks and throughput is much lower than with vehicle elevators.
Turning the vehicles can be done in the parking module, on a shuttle or at a location within the parking system.
Key: =Low =Medium =High.
* Dependent on elevator system used and number of parking rows.