Gatwick Airport to trial robot parking valets

Mark Johnson's picture

London’s Gatwick Airport is to start trialling the use of parking valet robots to park holidaymakers’ cars.

The scheme, which involves toaster-shaped robots will start this summer in August, with the aim of getting more cars packed into the airport’s already busy car parks.

Using robots to do holidaymakers’ parking could mean an extra 30 per cent more vehicles being squeezed into the spaces, because the empty cars can be parked closer together.

The battery-powered robot will slide a forklift-style ramp under the car, then pull it to a secure bay with military-grade GPS navigation systems, The Sun reported.

The autonomous bots, codenamed Stan, link each vehicle to a passenger's flight number.

Because there is no need to open car doors, they can be packed more tightly together.

Mind the gap: Gatwick parking robots will park you car

According to a planning application to Crawley Council the three-month pilot scheme will kick off at the height of the summer holiday rush.

French company, Stanley Robotics, is the maker of the parking bots and already has similar trials going on at airports across Europe.

“We call it a valet parking robot because people just need to drop off their car at the entrance of the car park and then they can basically leave and catch a flight, but it’s doing more than just valet parking,” Stéphane Evanno, Stanley Robotics’ co-founder, said.

”Customers did not understand that their car would not stay in that wide space where they left it.’

"They were just wondering why the car was in another position when they returned,” he told industry website Airport Technology."

The Gatwick robot trial will run at the South Terminal's long-stay car park, where lamp posts and 170 spaces will be taken down to make way for 270 roboparking slots.

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