Munich Parking Garage
Emailed photos purportedly show a space-age automated parking garage constructed in a circular tower in Munich, Germany.
Description: Viral images
Circulating since: April 2006
Status: Mislabeled (see details below)
Email contributed anonymously, May 7, 2006:
Subject: Munich parking garage
This is incredible! Can you imagine how all this operates? How do they lock each car in its cubicle for safety.
WHO CARES. NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND COULD GET IN THERE.
Talk about German efficiency! The two photos below were taken at a new parking garage in Munich. The actual space that the facility occupies is approximately only 20% of a comparable facility with the traditional design that is used primarily in the US.
Not only is the German structure less expensive to build, but vehicles are also "retrieved" in less time and without the potential of being damaged by an attendant.
Analysis: These photos are authentic, though mislabeled. What you actually see above is the interior of a 20-storey car tower in Volkswagen's Autostadt or "car city" in Wolfburg, Germany basically a car dealership and theme park rolled into one.
The Autostadt, which opened in 2001 and boasts a hotel, restaurants, a museum, and other attractions, sees over one million visitors per year. Car buyers take delivery of their purchases via a fully automated procedure whereby the automobile is plucked robotically from a cubbyhole in one of the two "twin towers," each of which holds up to 400 vehicles, and brought to its owner on a special elevator.
Image credit notes: The top image has been previously credited in news stories to AP photographer Fabian Bimmer, who in all likelihood is also responsible for the second one.
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Sources and further reading:
Official Volkswagen Autostadt information site
Autostadt: High-Rise Delivery at Volkswagen
Elevator World, 23 Ocotber 2001
IT Drives Volkswagen's Autostadt
Computerworld, 11 August 2003
Last updated: 12/13/10