Gatwick has become the first UK airport to trial robots that valet park passengers’ cars, having signed a deal to work with Stanley Robotics.
The trial will run from the second half of 2019 to early 2020, with passengers leaving their car in a well-lit, spacious parking station near the South Terminal entrance.
Without handing over keys, a driverless robot will lift the car and store it in a secure car park.
The system will be connected to real-time flight information so that the robot returns the vehicle to the parking station once its passenger has landed, in which the user then receives an SMS that the vehicle is ready.
More details on Gatwick’s trial will be released prior to the trial launch in coming weeks.
Guy Stephenson, chief commercial officer of Gatwick Airport, said: “I’m delighted to have signed the contract for this new partnership with Stanley Robotics.
“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.
“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.”
Stéphane Evanno, chief operating officer of Stanley Robotics, added: “We are proud to be leading this innovation with Gatwick Airport, whose excellence in operations is recognised globally.
“The UK is of strategic importance to Stanley Robotics; the market provides exciting potential for our product.
“Thanks to this first partnership, we have established an office and team in the country to further this agenda.
“We are now working with Gatwick to offer visitors a world class experience.
“We aim to completely reinvent the parking experience and create a seamless customer journey.
“In addition, we will be maximising the efficient use of land for Gatwick and bringing them a sustainable solution, allowing us to envisage long-term collaboration.”