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News: Gatwick trials robo-parking

Gatwick Airport is to launch a trial of an autonomous system for parking in the long stay car park at the South Terminal.

The system will involved customers driving into enclosed booths where they leave their car. After verifying the booking, an automated electric robot named 'Stan' will slide underneath the vehicle, lift it by the tyres, and move it to a secure part of the site.

Gatwick Airport is to trial autonomous car parking systems. Vehicles will

be left in booths and robots will move them to a remote area for storage.

A control system allocates a space to each car. Users will be able to take keys with them as their vehicles will not be driven on the site. The robots are linked to the airport's flight information system, which will enable cars to be retrieved from the parking area when a customer flies back into the airport.

Cars are moved to vacant spaces by a robot.

Stanley Robotics, the manufacturers of the system, claim that it enables cars to be parked more closely in remote parking areas as there is no need for access via the doors. The firm also claims that the process is environmentally friendly as it reduces emissions from customers driving round looking for empty spaces. The approach is also said to boost security as no customers will be allowed into the area where cars are left, and it is likely to reduce minor damage from door dents.

Stéphane Evanno, COO and 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. It’s a machine that autonomously detects a vehicle, slides under it, lifts it gently by the wheels and moves it to a storage area."

During the trial, which is expected to get underway in August, Gatwick will allocate 270 spaces to the autonomous parking system along with eight cabins in which passengers will drop off and collect vehicles.

Vehicles can be parked closer together as access via doors is not required.

An airport assessment suggests that the number of parking spaces in long stay zones C and D could be increased from 6,000 to 8,500 if the system is adopted across the property. Gatwick Airport's planning application says that robotic parking is being explored in response to the capital investment plan requirements for additional on-airport car parking spaces and to optimise the use of existing infrastructure.

The system has already been tested at Lyon Airport in France. The tests at Gatwick are expected to get underway in August and will initially run for three months.

Text © The Aviation Oracle. Pictures © Stanley Robotics.

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