Have your car parked by a robot at Gatwick Airport

Travellers from Gatwick Airport could soon have their car parked by a robot.

The airport, the UK’s second busiest after Heathrow, is working on a pilot project for robotic valet parking with the aim of boosting the number of parking spaces available.

Gatwick has been working with a parking robotics company, Stanley Robotics, to explore the introduction of the technology at Gatwick. The technology company currently operates its car parking robots at Lyon Airport.

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The trial is slated to start in April and finish by August, according to a planning consultation document filed with Crawley Borough Council.

But how do they work?

Customers drive into the airport car park and leave their car in a “cabin” before departing for their flight. The robot then collects the car by sliding a carrier underneath and moving it to the secured parking area. The robot will also log the passenger’s itinerary, so the car is ready and waiting when they arrive back at Gatwick.

The idea is that robotic valet parking optimises the existing car parking spaces, as well as introducing more capacity compared to traditional “self-park” spaces.

The trial, which would take place within Zone B of the airport’s Long Stay Car Park, will take the existing 2,350 spaces and remove 170 of them. It will then add 270 robotic valet parking spaces, effectively creating an extra 100 spaces.

Gatwick says that with the introduction of robotic valet parking, capacity could increase from 6,000 to 8,500. Unlike self-park spaces, robotically parked cars can be parked more precisely and do not need to leave space for a driver to get out of the car – meaning more cars can be packed into the same area.

If successful, robotic valet parking could be rolled out across all of the airport’s car parks.

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