Is the Automated Parking/Hoboken Story about over?


Is the Automated Parking/Hoboken Story about over?

When a correspondent sent me the link, the subject was "Hoboken Parking Stupidity." One of the best articles I have read on the First and Largest truly automated garage in the US is here. Its clear, concise, and not riddled with rumor or gossip. I have been following the Hoboken story since its beginnings with the construction of the garage. I know the players personally.

In brief, the relationship between the Hoboken Parking Utility and vendor Robotic Parking has been finally severed, well almost.  The two have been fighting over practically everything since the contract was awarded. They are oil and water, cats and dogs, Donald and Ivana. It came down to this.

The contract between the two was running month to month. Robotic told the city it needed more money to run the garage. The city said no. Robotic notified the parkers in the garage that they had better get their cars out because when they left August 1, the garage would no longer run. The city didn’t like that at all and a few days before the the First, they had the local police escort Robotic employees off the site.

Well, in the end software will out. For some strange reason, the software that runs the garage, and belongs to Robotic, stopped working that night.  The city and its new vendor, an outfit from Israel, struggled to get the cars out. The city filed suit against Robotic and asked the court to force them to make the software work.

The judge told the two warring parties to come to an agreement (in other words, grow up and solve the problem.)  A few days later they did — Robotic agreed to license the software to the city. The city agreed to pay Robotic a bit over five grand a month.  Unitronics will run the garage for the same money the city was paying Robotic. So lets see — the city is out exactly the same amount of money it would have been if Robotic stayed. Except for its software, which is licensed for three years, Robotic is out of Hoboken. And Unitronics has that same three years to come up with some new software to run the garage.

Oh yes, the judge said that Robotics can, if they like, proceed and sue the city for copyright infringement. 

In a statement the two sides buried the hatched (hopefully not in each other’s back) and agreed to press forward. The people of Garden Street in Hoboken can now get their cars out of the garage, or continue to park there.

From every independent source I can find, the garage seems to work as advertised (when the software licensing fees are paid.) There have been some hiccups, but there always are.  The people who use the garage seem to be happy with it. So what was the problems.

Egos and Politics. It comes down to that. Too bad. What could have been the beginning of an industry in the US, actually stopped all automated parking construction for the past six years. Concerns about the technology (which, it seems to me was the one thing that actually did work in all this mess), have been used as excuses not to proceed on many proposed automated projects in the past half decade.

Will this quiet down and the industry begin to move. Its wags say so.  I’ll believe it when I see cars moving in and out of another 300 plus car facility somewhere in the US. 

Got one working — give me a call — I’ll put you on the cover of PT. 


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. John
    I almost started this note with DEAR John, but thought otherwise
    I sent you a reply to your article about
    our favorite topic, 916 aka robotics. Note the lower case ” r”
    Did you receive it? If not then I will try again. Don Pellicno

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