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PM opens facility for new car park technology

Embargoed to 12 noon, Wednesday, October 4, 2006.

PM opens first commercial facility for new car park technology

Prime Minister, Helen Clark, today opened the World’s first commercial system of a locally designed, fully automated car stacking system which has rapidly gained international interest.

The system, which the designers say could change the way urban car parks are built, has already attracted over $4.5 million in international distribution licences before a commercial facility has been in place.

The 42 cell car park has been built inside a former hangar at Rotorua Airport, which could otherwise store around 15 vehicles.

The car park will be used for air passengers who want their cars stored under cover while they are away from Rotorua.

Phil Jones, managing director of Ahu Developments and designer of the system, said World attention in the system has been increasing so fast that he now believes it is the most advanced car stacking system in the World.

“We have kept a close eye on every other system in the World, as well as transport and parking statistics in 300 cities. We know that we have created breakthroughs on a number of levels,” he said.

The system has resulted from more than three years of trials and refinements of well-proven technology in New Zealand sawmills which move logs and stacks of timber automatically. Mr Jones was previously a senior sawmill manager and the concept of a car stacking system came to him from that experience.

A nine cell prototype was unveiled last December in a Tokoroa engineering workshop. Interest from property developers, urban planners and transport organisations was immediate and the company has since sold over $4.5 million in distribution licences to provide the system in Australia, United States, Canada, Central and South America.

A joint venture company has also been established in South Africa to supply buyers in Europe and parts of the main American continents.

The system is fully automated. A driver simply stops at the car park entrance, exits from the car and pushes a button near the car. The car is automatically transported by electro-mechanical technology with a combination of tracks and sensors and delivered to a designated car parking cell which could be as high as eight levels off the ground. The Rotorua facility goes to three levels but extra levels could be quickly added if the building was high enough.

When the driver needs the car, the button reverses the process.

Mr Jones said the reason the system is attracting international attention is mainly because of the pressure for car parks in inner city areas where land is rising in cost.

“Car parks in Auckland sell for as much as $70,000 now. Imagine if you could fit as many as eight cars above the same area of real estate. This is what we can achieve and we can do it more cost effectively than any other World supplier.”


U-PARKIT Interntional licensees

Since the release of the prototype in December 2005, distribution licences have been allocated for all of the states of Australia, for the United States, including Hawaii and offshore territories, Central America, including the Caribbean and the South American continent. Sales are currently being negotiated in all of those countries.

Ahu Developments is also negotiating licences in the Middle East and South Africa.

A joint venture company has been established in South Africa, to manufacture for World markets. Location of the manufacturing plant will be in the Johannesburg-Pretoria region

Key benefits of the U-PARKIT system

1. Construction and maintenance cost

The technology used makes U-PARKIT the most cost- competitive car stacking system in the World. The technology is also easier to maintain and is well known because of its adapted use in sawmills over many years

2. Portability

The U-PARKIT system can be built on site quickly; at a rate of about ten cells a day. It can also be dismantled and moved to a different site if the land is required for some other purpose.

3. Modular

Cells can be added or subtracted according to changing demand.

4. Space saving

U-PARKIT needs as little as 30-40 percent of the space of a conventional drive-in car park, to store the same number of cars. In certain situations the saved space can be as high as 80 percent, creating huge savings in land costs.

5. Personal and property security

Because drivers do not need to go into the car park to collect their vehicles, there are no late night nerves created by potential assailants, burglars or car thieves. Drivers will also avoid fender benders and panel scratches because of the full automation of the system.

International growth of U-PARKIT

The directors of Ahu Developments always intended to design and build U-PARKIT for cities around the World.

While other multi level car stacking systems have existed for some years, the company believes that no other system can match the New Zealand design for construction cost, on-going maintenance and its flexibility for different locations such as building basements or confined and expensive inner city spaces.

U-PARKIT will expand World wide through the sale of distribution licences. These operate similarly to a franchise arrangement and have the same quality control standards and branding requirements to ensure consistent delivery in any country.

At the time of this Rotorua launch, licences have been sold for all states of Australia, the United States, Canada, the countries of Central and South America.

A number of licences are also being negotiated. The company expects to have completed coverage of all developed countries within two years.

The first offshore sales are also being negotiated in the United States, Middle East, Australia, South Africa and Mexico.


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