Robots may soon park cars at Gatwick airport


Gatwick Airport is set up for test robots to park the passenger cars in the long-term parking lot at South Terminal. The trial is expected to take place over three months, in conjunction with technology provided by Stanley Robotics.


In a planning request for the Crawley Council, Gatwick Airport says they will use robots to park passenger cars to increase capacity.

The application states: "The test area comprises an existing surface parking area that is currently configured for self-parking. Zone B currently accommodates about 2,350 spaces. During the trial, this will reduce to 2,180 self-parking spaces and 270 valet parking spaces.

"This area will be surrounded by the rest of the Long Stay Car Park with new fences. The main element of development is the installation of eight cabins on the east side of the test area. Each cabin should be 4.6m x 8.7m x 3.2m in height. Each will have two secure access controlled entrances, one for the customer to drive their vehicle and exit the opposite side and an entrance for the valet robot to access the car.

"On the customer's entry side, there will be a canopy to provide rain cover for the customer as they enter their details into the access control panel. The cabins of the vehicles will be constructed using a steel frame, vertically composite wall cladding and trapezoidal roof panel construction system. In addition, a small technical room and a temporary control center with wellness arrangements will be provided during the trial period. These are proposed to be a temporary self-sufficient portacabins.

Robotic parking is being explored by Gatwick Airport Limited in response to its desire to optimize the existing parking infrastructure.


The technology is being provided by Stanley Robotics and they dubbed the "Stan" robots. Previously, this technology was tested at Lyon Airport; co-founder and COO of Stanley Robotics, St├ęphane Evanno, said: "We call it a parking robot because people just need to leave their car at the entrance to the parking lot and then basically they can go out and catch a flight but they are doing more than only valet parking. It is a machine that detects a vehicle autonomously, slides under it, gently lifts it around the wheels and moves it to a storage area. "

Evanno commented: "As the car is stored in a non-public area, you are sure that there will be no one who could damage your car when you open the doors. Your car is protected from damage and the entire storage area is closed to the public, so it is safe for the integrity of the car and for the owners. "

The trial should begin in August 2019, before the busiest time of the year to the airport.

The application states that "the system works when the passenger enters the parking area and parks his or her car in one of the numbered vehicle booths. A touch screen kiosk in the cabin of the vehicle will allow customers to confirm their parking reservation. The passenger then leaves his vehicle (holding the keys) and makes his way, as usual, to the terminal (in this case via the long-term parking bus).

"When passengers leave the cabin, the cabin of the vehicle will be automatically protected. The valet robot then picks up the car by sliding its carrier under the car and takes it to a parking space in the secure parking area. The parking service is connected to the customer's flight information so that, on the return of the passenger, the car is retrieved by the robot and returned to a designated vehicle cabin ready for the arrival of the passenger. "


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