Gatwick Airport is planning to roll out a fleet of automated robots to park travellers’ cars for them.
Starting this April, the airport intends to trial a “robotic car park pilot project” at its south terminal long-stay car park.
Travellers will be able to drive their car to the car park and leave it in a designated drop-off zone where it will be collected by a robot called Stan.
Once summoned by a touchpad, Stan will arrive, scan the car’s dimensions and the pick the car up on its forklift-style ramp. It will then move the car to a preset parking bay using military-grade GPS.
The team behind the scheme say the cars can be packed much more tightly into spaces thanks to the accuracy of the system and the fact it doesn’t need to leave space for doors to be opened.
The system also ensures a driver’s car is ready for them when they return by linking the parking system to their flight number.
The trial, which was revealed in a planning application to the local council, will run for three months over one of the busiest periods for the airport and follows similar schemes in at Paris Charles de Gaulle, Lyon ad Dusseldorf airports.
Stan is the brainchild of French robotics firm Stanley Robotics. Stéphane Evanno, co-founder of Stanley Robotics, commented: “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.”
He said that previous trials had been well received by passengers.