“Oh, I don’t park my own car; I get a robot to do it for me.” That might sound like the kind of arrogant statement you’d expect to hear coming out of the mouth of a snooty character in a sci-fi show, but it’s not quite as futuristic as you might expect.
At France’s Lyon Airport, startup Stanley Robotics has unveiled its new automated robotic valet system. Set to be opened to airport passengers in the coming weeks, the robot-managed parking lot means that it may never again be necessary to circle packed airport lots searching for an empty space. Instead, airport visitors simply book a parking spot in advance on the website, then drop their vehicle off at a designated point. While the passengers then head to the terminal via a dedicated shuttle service, one of four autonomous robot valets will sort out the rest of the parking hassle.
“After your drop off, our robots come to take care of your car,” Edouard Petit, head of marketing and communications for Stanley Robotics, told Digital Trends. “The robot lifts your car by the wheels slowly, and then takes it to park for you in a closed and secure parking lot. After your trip, the experience is also very easy. When you book your place, you inform our booking system for your flights. With this information, we know exactly when you will be back, even if your flight is delayed. A few minutes before your return flight arrives, our robot comes to pick up your car again.”
By the time you, the passenger, arrive back at the cabin you dropped your car off at, it’s ready and waiting to take you home.
While this isn’t the only robot valet system we’ve covered, Stanley Robotics claims that this is the world’s first outdoor car park to be managed entirely by bots. The robots built by the company boast several smart sensors which, combined with its A.I. algorithms, will ensure that it avoids collisions while parking. The robots can transport any standard-size car up to 16 feet in length and 6,000 pounds in weight.
According to Petit, this kind of technology isn’t just going to be useful for passengers, but airports as well. With more people traveling all the time, space requirements for modern airports are always growing. Using this kind of robot valet parking system can, he claims, help optimize space and create around 50 percent more available parking by enabling vehicles to be packed in more systematically.