ROOF-TOP PARKING SYSTEM AND METHOD
A roof-top parking system and method for automatically parking and retrieving a vehicle on a roof. The system includes a communication system adapted to receive a parking request or a retrieval request, and a vehicle positioning device which positions a vehicle a queuing space on the ground adjacent a building and a parking space assigned to the vehicle on the roof of the building.
The present invention relates to the parking of vehicles, in particular automatic parking thereof on the roofs of buildings.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
In many locations there is a dearth of available parking spaces. This is particularly true in crowed cities due to the large number of automobiles owned by those who live and come to work there.
Due to this issue, new buildings often include underground parking or are raised (on “stilts”) to provide parking under the first floor of the building. On the other hand, some new buildings do not provide for parking, which further exacerbates the afore-mentioned parking issue. Also, there are many existing buildings that do not have a parking lot or underground parking; or simply have insufficient parking space.
To help provide a solution to the parking space issue in crowded locations, JP 6212822 and JP 1268973 both disclose roof parking devices.
The roof parking device of JP 66212822 comprises an elevator device constructed along an external wall of an existing building and trucks disposed on the roof for positioning cars. A car loaded via a pallet is lifted to a roof level corresponding to a specific parking space by a carriage. The truck for positioning the cars is moved to the carriage side and stopped and a driving rail on the carriage is slid to the truck side through a sliding mechanism and transferred onto a roller rail on the truck side together with the pallet. The truck, on which the car is loaded, is moved horizontally at a specific position, brought to the same level as a roller rail on the parking space side, and housed together with the pallet.
JP 1268973 discloses a roof parking device that provides car storage racks on the roof of a building and the carrying of entering and exiting cars to and from optional storage spaces via a lifting device and a transferring device. Storage racks forming a plurality of multi-stage car storage spaces are installed on the building's roof. The transferring device is incorporated into the storage racks and is capable of carrying entering and exiting cars. The lifting device, which performs vertical transfer of the cars, is provided between a home position at the ground level and a transfer position for the transferring device. A turning device rotates the cars to the appropriate direction at the transfer position.OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the present invention to provide a parking system designed for positioning cars on a roof without the need for a parking garage thereon.
It is another object of the present invention that the parking system requires a minimal or essentially no support by the building whose roof is being parked thereon. In other words, the parking system exerts either a relatively minimal force on the roof of a building or no force at all—except for a parking rack associated with each parked car. Thus, virtually any building, including an existing building, is sturdy enough to allow cars to be parked on its roof without structural issue.
It is an additional object of the present invention that the parking system is adapted so that cars can be positioned in their spaces on the roof regardless the typical obstacles found on roofs, such as solar panels, storage huts and the like.
It is a further object of the present invention that the parking system is adapted to provide automatic parking of vehicles on a roof and with minimal space required on the roof and between vehicles parked thereon.
The present invention relates to a parking system for parking vehicles on the roof of a new or existing building as defined in the claims.
According to particular embodiments, the parking system is adapted for automatic operation whereby a driver can have his car parked in a pre-determined dedicated space by driving his car into a pier, located outside the perimeter of the roof (typically adjacent or adjoined to the roof and building) where a rack, dedicated for use with his car only, is used to help lift and position the car, and he can automatically retrieve his car via a communication system including, but not limited to, a command from a control panel or a remote control mechanism, which could be like a TV remote control or garage door remote control or even built in or programmed into other hand-held devices such as cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and the like. In this regard, the driver may also have the option to order his car to be ready at a certain hour.
The pier typically adjoins the exterior of the building, particularly in existing buildings, whereas in new buildings there is more flexibility in the arrangement.
It is a particular feature of the parking system that the positioning structure thereof is essentially or completely independent of the roof and/or building. By this it is meant that the positioning structure does not structurally exert a significant weight on the roof and/or building; and, according to particular embodiments, does not exert any weight on the roof and/or building with the exception of the parking rack associated with each car. In such a design, the positioning structure, including the pier, is designed to support the portion of the structure that overhangs the building above the roof, as well as support each car during transfer to and from its parking space—in particular while above the roof.ADVANTAGES
1. Additional parking spaces are provided without any additional footprint.
2. One can park right at one's workplace or apartment building/residence.
3. Low cost relative to providing underground parking lots or parking in an organized parking lot.
4. Simple operation and maintenance.
5. Time saving: parking/retrieving one's car is quick and does not require the driver to park the car.
6. Space saving: (a) cars can be parked close to each other as drivers do not need space to exit/enter their cars; and (b) cars can be parked in a large portion of the roof, including the row opposite the pier.
7. Safer and better: as drivers do not park and retrieve their cars, there will not be traffic accidents during that time; and, parked cars will not be hit, dented, scratched by doors being opened, parked or retrieved.
8. Environmentally friendly: relieves traffic congestion as cars need not be driven in search of parking spaces.
9. Theft of one's car is less likely during the time it is parked on the roof.
10. As the parking system's structure is only marginally supported by the roof/building, or not supported by it at all—with the exception of the parking rack of each car—the roof/building need only support the weight of the parking racks and cars parked thereon. Thus, virtually all existing buildings can use the parking system without need for strengthening of the roof/building.
The invention may be more clearly understood upon reading of the following detailed description of non-limiting exemplary embodiments thereof, with reference to the following drawings, in which:
Referring first to
The parking system comprises a vehicle positioning device 18 comprising a system of support beams 20 and a system of car positioning beams 22, and a carriage 24, which is carried by one of the vehicle positioning beams. The support beams 20 typically include generally vertical beams 26 and generally horizontal beams 28—both of which typically include diagonally oriented structural members or diagonal beams 30. The support beams 20 and vehicle positioning beams 22 include beams that are located above the roof 10 and beams located outside the perimeter of the roof, which form a pier 32.
The carriage 24 is adapted for attaching to each of a plurality of platforms or racks 34 upon which each car 14 rests when it is within the parking system; i.e. when it is parked on the roof 10 and when it is being transferred (moved when on or near the roof, raised or lowered) for retrieving or parking thereof.
For raising the car 14 to the roof 10 when it is to be parked and lowering thereof when it is to be retrieved, as mentioned, certain of the support beams 20 are disposed at a position outside the perimeter of the roof 10 and form the pier 32, which may include walls for safety and aesthetic reasons. As noted, the pier 32 is located outside the perimeter of the roof 10, commonly adjoining or at least adjacent the building 12 and roof. However, particularly in existing buildings where there may exist space constraints or the desire not to block an existing window and the like, the pier 32 may be spaced apart from the building 12.
The lifting and lowering of the car 14 and rack 34 is accomplished by cables 35 (seen in
Balancing of the rack 34 and car 14 thereon can be performed automatically by the cables 35 using known systems as known in the field of cargo and shipping containers. The technology and mechanics involved in the transporting and positioning of cargo and shipping containers is also applicable to the present parking system for stabilizing and securing the carriage 24, and for example may include a male/female cone-like arrangement (not shown) wherein when the cables 35 completely raise the car 14, carriage 24 and rack 34 from the roof 10, they are secured so that they do not sway.
In the present embodiment the positioning beam 22 is longer than the length of the cars 14 (simply due to the fact that three rows available for parking and not merely one row) and, for this reason the pier 32 has an upper portion 36 that is wide enough to accommodate the positioning beam 26 which enters the pier prior to raising and lowering of the car.
The parking system may further include a shelter or shed 38 in which a driver 40 may wait for his car 14 to be retrieved and into which he may enter upon exiting his car when he leaves his car to be parked. The parking system may include a control panel 42 (seen in
In the above-described embodiments, the parking system does not touch the roof 10 and does not exert a force on the roof, with the exception of the parking racks 34, which are of relatively insignificant weight. Thus, the weight of any parked cars 14 is the most significant additional force on the roof 10. As the parking system is only marginally supported by the roof/building (i.e. only the parking racks 34 rest thereon), virtually all existing buildings can use the parking system without need for strengthening.
According to a further embodiment, illustrated in
To clarify how the cars 14 are positioned, reference is made to
Further, to allow cars 14 to be parked in rows other than the central row 44 (in this case to a row adjacent to the edge of the roof 10), the parking system's beams 22 may comprise an auxiliary pair of positioning beams 22a. The auxiliary positioning beams 22a have associated therewith an arrangement, illustrated by two pairs of spools or wheels 50, whereby they can slide/roll with respect to positioning beams 22, in particular the horizontal beams 28, with a cantilever/telescoping effect. Wheels 51 at the non-free end of positioning beams 22a allow for the cantilevering, generally exerting an upward force on positioning beams 22 to balance the weight on the free end positioning beams 22a (namely the car 14, the carriage 24, the rack 34 and the extending portion of those beams 22a). It should be understood that depending upon the size, geometry and the like of the roof 10, there may not be a need for more than one pair of positioning beams; or there may be a preference for more than one pair of such beams 22a.
It should be understood from the aforementioned, that beams 22a can extend and retract whereby the upper portion 36 need not be significantly wider than the car 14. In other words, the pier 32 can be narrow throughout its height and one or more set of auxiliary beams 22a can be used to extend the car 14 to a remote parking space 16.
As should be understood from the above described embodiments, the parking system's vehicle positioning device 18 is adapted so that the car 14 can be moved in X, Y and Z directions. Furthermore, the positioning beams 22 can be dimensioned of have additional beams whereby, via the XYZ movement, the parking system can be adapted to park the car 14 in virtually any open position on the roof 10. Raising and lowering of the car 14 in the pier 34 can be considered Z-direction movement; moving of the car in and out of the pier 34, can be considered X-direction movement; and moving of the car to rows in a direction away from the central row 44 (opposite the pier 34) can be considered Y-direction movement.
Parking a vehicle: the driver 40 driving his car 14 approaches the building 12 (or upon arriving at the building) and activates the parking system (remotely or via the control panel 42) typically involving inputting a code (e.g. his own private code) and indicating whether he is parking or retrieving. According to particular embodiments, the system may include an option to verify whether a car 14 is parked on its rack 30 and thus know whether a command is for parking or whether it is for retrieving). At this stage, the vehicle positioning device 18 is automatically activated (affixed to the top of the pier 32) which identifies the parking space 16 designated to his car 14 (placed in a permanent site on the roof 10) and conveys the parking rack 30 to the bottom of the pier.
The driver 40 drives his car 14 onto its rack 30, turns off the car, leaves the car in the pier 32, exits the pier, and then activates the parking action (e.g. swipes a magnetic card, inputs a code via a press pad, provides a signal via a remote control type device such as a cell phone, PDA, etc). For safety, activation of the parking is preferably only possible from outside the pier 32. The activation actuates the vehicle positioning device 18, which conveys the rack 30 with the car 14 thereon up the pier 32 and into its predetermined space 16 on the roof 10. Placement of the rack 30 and car 14 into its designated space on the roof 10 may be facilitated by mutual identification of a sensor of the vehicle positioning device 18 with the parking space 16.
Upon activation of the parking mode, the positioning beam 26 moves the carriage 24 to the rack 30 of that car 14 and attaches thereto. The rack 30 is then conveyed along the positioning structure 20 to the pier 32 at which point the rack is lowered by uncoiling the cables 35. When and only when, the rack 30 reaches the floor of the pier 32, the driver 40 may drive his car 14 thereon. When the driver 40 exits his car 14 and the pier 32 and activates a park command, the car is raised by coiling the cables 35 until it reaches the upper portion 36 of the pier 32 at which time the car and rack 30 are translated out of the pier above the roof 10 and into its parking space 16. The last steps of parking require moving the car 14 and rack 30 perpendicular to the aforementioned translated direction and then lowering the rack, with the car thereon, onto the roof 10, by uncoiling the cables 35.
Retrieving the car 14 from its parking space occurs essentially in a manner reverse to that of parking it and may be actuated by means of a code in the remote control device, as mentioned above. The remote control device may have two modes or activation options:
a. A simple requisition requested at the time when the driver is at the building 12 (i.e. at the pier 32). The request may be made as mentioned above (e.g. by pressing a code, etc); and
b. A timer-type requisition for requesting the driver's car 14 at a future time. Again, the request may be made as mentioned above (e.g. by pressing a code, etc), however the request is typically made from a remote location, though not necessarily, and obviously requires that the preferred time of retrieval is input and preferably the parking system provides a verification that the retrieval time is appropriate (i.e. there is no previous order in the time slot requested) or provides an indication of the nearest time slot available to that requested.
There can be various provisions for dealing with situations where a driver 40 remotely orders his car 14 and yet cannot arrive on time and another driver meanwhile initiates a retrieval attempt. For example, the car 14 ordered can be returned to its space 16 allowing the other car to be retrieved after which the ordered car is retrieved again—or it may signal the driver 40 who made the order who may then update the time at which he wishes to have his car ready.
It should be understood that there are various parking systems and methods that can be devised according to the present invention and that the above described embodiments are merely explanatory.
For example, in accordance with certain embodiments, each car 14 has its own pre-determined parking space 16 on the roof 10 of the building 12 and parking rack 30, which is associated with each space. In accordance with other embodiments, the driver 40 may park his car 14 in any available space 16 although typically a code is required. The system may be designed so that a fee is required to park; and may be adapted to collect those fees (e.g. automatically via a credit card).
According to another example, the carriage 24 may comprise an impact-mitigating touch down system, illustrated by springs 56 (
Thus, the present parking system and method can be embodied in a variety of aspects falling within the scope of the present invention, mutatis mutandis.COMPONENT LIST AND REFERENCE NUMBERS
- roof 10
- building 12
- car 14
- parking space 16
- vehicle positioning device 18
- system of support beams 20
- roof-top support beams 20a
- system of car positioning beams 22
- first pair of positioning beams 22a
- second pair of positioning beams 22b
- carriage 24
- vertically oriented beams 26
- horizontally oriented beams 28
- diagonal beams 30
- pier 32
- racks 34
- cables 35
- upper portion 36
- shelter or shed 38
- driver 40
- control panel 42
- central row 44
- elevator housing 46
- wheels 48
- wheels 50
- communication system 52
- turning mechanism 54
- springs 56
19. A roof-top parking system for automatically parking and retrieving a vehicle on a roof of a building comprising:
- a communication system adapted to receive a parking request indicating that a vehicle is to be parked and a retrieval request indicating that the vehicle is to be retrieved;
- a vehicle positioning device adapted to raise and park the vehicle from a queuing space to a parking space located on a roof in response to said parking request, and to retrieve and lower the vehicle from said parking space to said queuing space in response to said retrieval request, the vehicle positioning device having a first structural portion located outside a perimeter of the roof and extending from a ground level to an elevated rooftop level, and a second structural portion extending from said first structural portion above the roof, the vehicle positioning device further including:
- a plurality of parking racks, each parking rack associated with a parking space defined on the roof;
- a vehicle positioning beam having a transfer device to laterally move each of said plurality of parking racks between said parking space and an intermediate location outside a perimeter of the roof above the elevated rooftop level;
- a carriage suspended from said vehicle positioning beam and releasebly attachable to each of the plurality of parking rack, the carriage including at least one cable to vertically move each of the parking racks between said parking space and said queuing space; and
- a system of support beams supporting said vehicle positioning beam, said transfer device and said carriage, the system of support beams being independent from the building.
20. The parking system according to claim 19, wherein said first structure of the vehicle positioning device outside the perimeter of the roof forms a pier adjacent the building in which the parking rack is raised and lowered.
21. The parking system according to claim 19, wherein the system of support beams are self-supporting and not in contact with the building.
22. The parking system according to claim 19 further comprising at least one support beam in contact with the building to provide support for the system of support beams.
23. The parking system according to claim 19, wherein the plurality of parking spaces are pre-determined, and each parking rack corresponds to a unique, pre-determined parking space.
24. The parking system according to claim 19, wherein the vehicle positioning beam is operable to move the parking rack in three linear directions for positioning the parking rack in an open parking space on the roof.
25. The parking system according to claim 19, further comprising a shelter at the ground level adjacent the first structure to provide a protected area for a driver to park or retrieve the vehicle.
26. The parking system according to claim 19, wherein the communication system comprises a control panel.
27. The parking system according to claim 26, wherein the control panel is disposed adjacent the first structure at the ground level.
28. The parking system according to claim 19, wherein the communication system is adapted to receive a wireless command signal.
29. The parking system according to claim 28, further comprising a remote control device for sending the wireless command signal.
30. The parking system according to claim 28, wherein the communication system is adapted to receive the wireless command signal from a communication device selected from the group consisting of a cellular phone and a personal digital assistant.
31. The parking system according to claim 19, wherein the communication system is adapted to generate an automatic retrieval request at a predetermined time, wherein the vehicle positioning device retrieves and lowers a parking rack from the parking space to the queuing space in response to the automatic retrieval request.
32. The parking system according to claim 19, wherein the carriage further comprises an impact-mitigating touch down system.
33. A method of parking a car on a roof of a building comprising:
- executing a parking order, whereby a parking rack, which is dedicated to a vehicle and corresponds to a parking space located at a rooftop level, is retrieved from said parking space and is transported to a queuing space located at a ground level;
- driving the vehicle onto said parking rack;
- exiting the vehicle;
- activating a parking command requesting that the vehicle be parked, whereby the loaded parking rack is raised to the rooftop level and positioned to the corresponding parking space; and
- executing a retrieval order and activating a retrieval command requesting that the vehicle be retrieved, whereby the loaded parking rack is retrieved from said parking space and transported to the queuing space.
34. The method according to claim 33, wherein at least one of the steps of executing the parking order and executing the retrieval order is initiated remotely.
International Classification: E04H 6/12 (20060101);