Gatwick Airport plans to trial a robotic valet car parking system later this year and has put in a planning application to Crawley Borough Council for the necessary structures.
Working with car parking robotics company Stanley Robotics the airport hopes to carry out the trial of robotic automated valet parking within Zone B of its Long Stay Car Park.
Under the plans, the passenger would park their car in one of the numbered vehicle cabins - the main aspect of the planning request. A touch screen kiosk on the vehicle cabin would then allow customers to confirm their parking booking.
'The passenger then leaves their vehicle (retaining their keys) and makes their way, as usual, to the terminal (in this case via. the long stay car park shuttle bus),' Gatwick said.
'Once the passengers has left the cabin the vehicle cabin is automatically secured. The valet robot then collects the car by sliding its carrier underneath the car and takes it to a parking space in the secured parking area. The car parking service is connected to the customer’s flight information so that upon a passenger’s return the car is retrieved by the robot and returned to a designated vehicle cabin ready for the passenger’s arrival.'
Gatwick is planning on commencing works in April 2019 with the intention of completion by August 2019. The trial period is planned to last for an initial period of three months before a decision is taken as to whether robotic parking offers a viable future at Gatwick.
The planning application states: 'If proven, robotic parking offers the opportunity for significant efficiencies in the use of GAL's [Gatwick’s] passenger parking estate, through provision of greater numbers of on airport car parking spaces per hectare compared to conventional self-parking and block parking operations.
'Investigation of robotic parking has now reached the stage where GAL wish to introduce a pilot project to test the concept of robotic valet parking, for potential wider use at Gatwick.'