LONDON – Gatwick airport is to trial the use of valet parking robots for three months, starting in August. It is hoped that the French-made devices will make parking before a holiday easier and less stressful. The Evening Standard, London’s evening paper, reported that trials are also taking place in other European airports – Paris, Lyon and Düsseldorf. An earlier 5-month trial at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle was deemed successful.
Under a trial which begins in August, travellers will leave their car in a dedicated drop-off zone and summon a droid, booked by app, on a touch-screen. As the customers are shuttled to the terminal, the battery-powered robot rolls up, slides a forklift-style ramp under the chassis, and uses military-grade GPS to ferry it to a secure bay — all without needing the keys.