Airport to Test Autonomous Valets

Officials at Gatwick Airport hope the system could pack 8,500 vehicles into parking lots that currently accommodate 6,000.

One of the U.K.’s largest airports will soon begin testing robotic vehicle valets in hopes that it could one day make much more efficient use of its parking lots.

Gatwick Airport, located south of London, filed an application with local officials to conduct the three-month pilot program between April and August, according to a report from CNN.

The autonomous valet robot, made by French company Stanley Robotics and previously tested at two airports in its native country, will be deployed in one of Gatwick’s long-term parking lots. Drivers reserving spots in the test lot will pull into one of eight cabins and leave their vehicle, at which point the robot will extend its flatbed underneath the parked car, lift it slightly and whisk it to its parking spot.

Airport officials hope an autonomous system could allow vehicles to be packed much more tightly — and dramatically increase capacity — in its existing parking lots. The report said although 100 self-parking spots will be cordoned off to accommodate the test, the Stanley valets will create 270 spots in their place.

If successful, about 8,500 vehicles could be placed in Gatwick lots that currently can house 6,000 cars.

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