The design by Polytechnic students features conveyor belts and forklifts A futuristic computerised car park in which vehicles are neatly slotted into place by conveyor belts and forklifts was unveiled yesterday. Unfortunately for motorists eager to do away with the frustrating search for a parking space, it was only a 1:43 scale model created by a team of mechanical engineering students at the Polytechnic University. Nevertheless, it demonstrated how car parks could function in future when available land is more scarce, said project leader Ip Shing-yuen. The students' efforts were sponsored by electrical engineering and electronics giant Siemens, which has established a training facility at the university's industrial centre. The facility, which went on show yesterday, will provide professional hi-tech training to students over the next 10 years. The design of the automated car park is similar to that of an automated warehouse. Instead of having to zig-zag through the car park in search of an available space, drivers would simply leave their car on a conveyor belt on the ground floor. The car would be carried to available parking slots by a lift that moves both vertically and horizontally within the car park. Drivers would use a magnetic card to request parking and could later have their car retrieved by sending an SMS. Although the project is a purely academic exercise, the process of making the model had increased students' interest in industrial automation, and Mr Ip said he planned a career in the field. Joris Myny, overseas business director of Siemens, said: 'Basically, we would support and sell the technology. But there would be another party, that is the contractor, who translates all concepts into the actual car park. We provided the technology to the university and the students were basically acting as the contractors.' Chris Wong Ho-ching, director of the university's industrial centre, praised Siemens for its long-term support for the centre and said: 'Hong Kong's future will not be in value-added processing. It will be in product design, development and innovation.'