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Going robotic: Reducing the flow of human traffic

Deploying robotics in specific facilities may have a profound effect on how businessess utilise both their space and energy consumption

COMMENT, Facilities Management, Robotics

Back in January 2016, I had the opportunity to sit down with Sam Alawiye, CEO of GreenParking, to discuss the various developments and ongoing challenges of the parking management market.

In addition to detailing his firm’s sustainable technologies, Alawiye talked about the launch of the Parking Robot System, unveiled at last year’s Gulf Traffic Exhibition.

Developed in Germany, the Parking Robot System is built upon an intelligent forklift design that is capable of automatically parking vehicles with minimal human input.

In addition to eliminating the need for valet parking services completely, the platform, which has already seen deployment at Düsseldorf Airport in Germany, can reportedly help boost the capacity of car parks by up to 60%. It accomplishes this by eliminating the need for space to accommodate human foot traffic.

While certainly a novel concept for the parking management market, I’ve since wondered what other types of facilities would benefit from adopting robotics and in what way.

Certainly the topic of intelligent building systems, coupled with advanced robotics, is not in itself a novel concept in FM. It’s even a topic I’ve touched upon previously, but the focus was more on the impact on the service delivery, rather than achievable efficiencies.

So what kind of benefits can be expected? Certainly in the case of GreenParking’s Parking Robot System, by reducing the space needed for human foot traffic, the added room can help expand the capacity of the structure. As such, we can already see some application in warehouses, cargo terminals, and other storage facilities that would greatly benefit from the added space.

Of course by limiting human access, this also creates opportunities for firms to cut back on their respective energy consumption, by either reducing usage of or wholly eliminating the need for lighting systems, as well as scaling back on climate control technologies.

With this in mind, robotics could find deployment within data centres, manufacturing facilities, or perhaps even within remote areas of a facility’s MEP infrastructure.

At the very least with robots, building owners won’t have to worry about anyone forgetting to turn off the lights at the end of the work day.

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Construction Week - Issue 754
Nov 23, 2019