Modular housing and computerized parking systems are moving into and staying in America. Rather than real estate apps and software, real estate technology that physically moves into cities and regions actually stays within those cities and regions.
Modular building is one such real estate technology. Modular manufacturing companies such as Full Stack in its Brooklyn Navy Yard factory make modules with steel finishes and elaborate facades off-site. A robotic camera measures the facades within a .002-inch margin error, not the typical 2” margin of error usually acceptable in traditional on-site construction.
Modules are outfitted with electrical and plumbing systems and then stacked (like Legos) on site. During the on-site assembly, the manufacturing company uses a drone camera that utilizes photogrammetry (a series of precise surveying-image measurements) to ensure that the modules are stacked properly together.
Proprietary software enables multiple suppliers to collaborate in the manufacturing and stacking process much as the way airplanes are manufactured and assembled. Fewer work-related injuries occur and fewer, if any, weather-related delays happen. This entire process takes days, rather than weeks or months.
Computerized parking systems such as U-Tron are creating robotic parking lots that shift cars around on robotic platforms without human intervention. U-Tron is able to “store” 370 cars on four levels, double or triple the volume of cars stored or parked in a conventional parking lot.
U-Tron is essentially a giant vending machine with a computerized brain. The system uses large turntables, robotic arms and a network of checks and balances to ensure that cars get from point A to point B without a scratch. Cars are parked 4” apart with a 6” overhead clearance to achieve a density two or three times the density of a normal garage. The parking app can summon and retrieve a car to the car’s driver in an average of 5 minutes.
Ian Todd, the director of automated parking systems at West Falia Technology in York PN, said, “There are going to be more (computerized parking systems) built in the next 2 – 3 years than have been built in the last 15 years.” After completing 2 robotic parking systems, West Falia Technology is currently in talks to install 25 additional systems in the Northeast, Austin Texas and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Amenities such as infrared saunas and IMAX theaters are also being installed in luxury towers such as the Zaha Hadid-designed condominium at 520 W. 28th Street near the High Line on Manhattan’s West Side. Cedar boxes that use infrared waves rather than heated rocks are said to detoxify the body and improve the skin without the harsh temperatures of traditional saunas. And, the building’s IMAX theater, the first of its kind in NYC, has seating tiers that retract into the walls to create additional entertaining space.