Gatwick Airport has submitted plans to have robots parking people’s cars in a pilot project that could be in operation by late Summer. The scheme is brought to you by French robotics company, Stanley Robotics, which has created a robot valet that parks your car more efficiently and securely. The robots, affectionately known as ‘Stan’, are platforms that carry your car from a garage bay near the terminal to an outdoor parking space. The robots have already been successfully trialled at airports in Lyon and Paris.
Documents submitted to Crawley Borough Council’s (CBC) planning department, to which Reigate and Banstead Borough Council (RBBC) is a consultee, describe how, unlike normal valet operations with block parking undertaken by drivers, the use of robotic technology allows more cars to be parked in the same area because of the parking precision and the fact that driver side doors do not need to be left accessible.
Passengers would be able to park their car in a garage, or “cabin”, near the airport terminal and scan a QR code on a touch screen terminal to book the car in. The zero emissions robot then comes and picks it up and valets it in a block. The booking is linked to the passenger’s flight number and tickets, so the car will be waiting for them in the same cabin when they land.
The robot can carry any domestic vehicle that is shorter than six metres and can lift three tons. The car park area would be completely closed to the public so it is more secure. Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) submitted a planning application to CBC in December to launch the pilot scheme in Zone B of the South Terminal long stay car park in August. Consultation letters have been sent to various authorities including RBBC. Comments can be made until Friday, February 15.
If approved, work is due to begin in April 2019 and be completed in August. The trial would last three months to determine whether a wider rollout is viable.
According to the plans, the pilot will use 170 of the current 2,350 spaces in Zone B. Even with the eight cabins that would be installed in that area, it is estimated that 270 cars could be parked there. The area would be fenced off and resurfaced for the robots.
As an example given in the documents, of how much car parking capacity could be increased by, is that Zones C and D could see the existing 6,000 self-park spaces increased to 8,500, even with the cabins being installed. GAL did not wish to comment on the plans at this stage. Stanley Robotics has been approached for comment.