Gatwick will be the first UK airport to trial robots that valet park passengers’ cars.
The airport signed a framework contract with Stanley Robotics on Tuesday, to set up a trial later this year.
The trial will run from the second half of 2019 to early 2020 and passengers will simply leave their car in a well-lit, spacious ‘parking station’ close to the South Terminal entrance and – without handing over keys – a driverless robot will gently lift up the car and store it in a secure car park.
The system will be connected to real-time flight information so the robot simply returns the vehicle to the parking station at the appropriate time and the user then receives an SMS confirmation that the vehicle is ready and waiting for their arrival.
“The valet parking robots could revolutionise parking at Gatwick and may also become common-place at airports and other businesses across the world. The new service will be a convenient, personalised experience that will save passengers time, while also reducing vehicle emissions,” says Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport. “With the potential to significantly increase car park capacity, this new automated system could also help the airport meet the increasing demand for air travel with only limited changes to our existing infrastructure,” he added.
Photo: AR robot at Aéroport Lyon St Exupéry ©AR/alpaca-productions