Trapped cars in Edinburgh ‘robot car park’ found 15 years on

Eight vehicles held captive for over a decade in a disused robotic car park are set to be preserved

Located on Morrison Street, the £5-million Autosafe ‘Sky Park’ was Britain’s most technologically advanced car park when opened in 2001. However, its tenure was short-lived, with the operating company and force behind the multistory car park entering receivership only two years later.

Rumour and urban legend claim that the administrators simply arrived one morning mid-2003 and locked the doors, leaving a number of vehicles marooned within the structure. For reasons unknown, these vehicles went unclaimed and were never recovered – until now.

Reddit user ieya404 has uploaded new pictures, taken from a building opposite the car park, showcasing a ‘time capsule’ comprising cars from the late 1980s through to the millennium.

The grounds and infrastructure will host a new £30m purpose-built office block, under the control of Hermes Real Estate, with the fate of the forgotten few hanging in the balance. Yet it is hoped that the classics to-be, including the likes of a Fiat Uno and Austin Maestro, will escape the crusher after demolition experts GCM services explained that ‘every effort’ would be made to save them.

The mystery around why these cars were left to rot by their respective owners will probably never be solved, but AutoClassics can take an educated guess. By 2003, the likes of an Austin Maestro would be unlikely deemed worthy of rescue; with the costs involved through administrators, either owners or insurance companies would seek fresh specimens. `

At the time of construction, the 600-space building was viewed as a symbol of the future, taking its construction design from similar ventures in Sydney, Tokyo and Beijing. Driving in and directed by four bright-coloured bays upon the entry, sensors scanned in the vehicle’s dimensions before transporting the car to the nearest space via turntables, lifts and what were dubbed ‘robot shuttles’.

When owners returned from their business in Edinburgh’s city centre, they in turn fed the pay machine and had their car automatically retrieved. The delivery process took three minutes, with the car park exit presented onto the Western Approach Road, a few minutes from Edinburgh Castle.

Sat unused for 12 years, the new structure also proposes a smaller, underground car park. We doubt that it will be automated.

You can view The Scotsman's photo gallery of the car park in operation with this retro showcase from 2001.

Picture courtesy of Reddit user ieya404

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