Frightened of leaving your car with a questionable airport parking firm next time you plan a weekend getaway? Luckily for you, we holidaymakers might have another option soon — in the form of robot security.
Gatwick Airport is set to roll out a fleet of valet-parking bots, which will see holidaymakers leaving their cars in a designated drop-off area, before using a touchscreen to summon a robot to park their car for them. Heads up- the parking must be pre-booked via an app.
The autonomous assistants will use a forklift-style ramp to slide under the chassis of a vehicle, before using GPS to move the car to a set parking bay. Cars can also be more tightly parked than normal because there’s no need for the driver’s door to be opened once in a space.
It’s also ensured that the car will be ready for collection on a passenger’s return to the airport, with the system being linked to flight numbers.
The firm behind the parking robots is French-based Stanley Robotics, which has successfully trialled the technology in Paris, Lyon and Düsseldorf. It has said it’s received positive feedback to the system from customers.
Stéphane Evanno, co-founder of Stanley Robotics, said: “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.”
The three-month scheme was unearthed after a planning application was sent to Crawley Borough Council. The scheme is currently in a consultation period, with a decision on the plans expected by February 15.
Under the plans, zone B in the south terminal long stay car park will be altered, with lampposts and 170 spaces set to be removed, and replaced by 270 new spaces, with a new surface laid for the robots to travel on.