Your next airport valet might be named Stan, and it might also be a robot.
Gatwick Airport in Britain announced this week that it will use Stanley Robotics' autonomous valet robot, Stan, in a pilot program to see just how many cars can be crammed into Gatwick's parking lots. The trial will start in August in Zone B of Gatwick's long-term parking and will run for three months, coinciding with the busier parts of the holiday season.
All drivers will need to do is drop their car in the predetermined drop-off location, then summon Stan through a touchscreen. The car will be scanned to determine its size, then Stan will load the car onto its built-in ramp and ferry the car to a spot where it will fit. The robots run on electricity and use GPS to determine their location.
Gatwick isn't the first airport to try out this tech, which can jam more cars into a lot than usual because doors won't need to be opened. Trials have already completed at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, in addition to other locations including Lyon and Dusseldorf.
Parking is never fun. Whether it's tight urban streets filled with millions of cars or the simple act of trying to find an airport parking space remotely near anything, travel-related frustration could be reduced by this extra convenience. Better yet, you don't need to tip a robot.
(Hat tip to Jalopnik!)