Finding a parking space can be a frustrating task. Driving in endless circles around a seemingly full airport carpark, exchanging eye contact with every person in the vicinity of their vehicle and answered with a guilty shake of the head to confirm that they just arrived, and won’t be leaving any time soon. Only to find yourself at the top of a ten story garage and running to get to your departure gate before you miss your flight.
Stanley Robotics plans to change all of that with a robot called Stan. It is going to make airport parking lots more efficient. When you think about it, your average parking lot has a lot of wasted space. Drivers need to be able to circulate around the lot and between spaces, vehicles can’t be double parked, and you need to be able to leave your car and get to the airport quickly.
With this robot valet, you can drop your car near the airport terminal in a garage-like booth. And even when you come back home, the system knows your itinerary and will bring your car back right before you land. Also, if somebody is going away for a while, the robot knows that it can put the car away in a corner and double park another car in front of it.
Stan works with all kinds of cars and it doesn’t need your keys as it clamps your wheels, lifts the entire car and moves it around. Once the car is in a parking space, Stan puts the car down and moves on to the next vehicle.
All of this sounds great on paper, but the most reassuring thing is that Stanley Robotics is already operating at Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. It’s been two years in the making, but a parking lot is now operated by robots.
Working with Stanley Robotics is cheaper than constructing new parking lots and these robotic valets can park the vehicles closer together than humans would manage. With that space savings, lot capacities are increased by up to 50% without changing the existing infrastructure.
Airports are still going to build new parking lots, but Stanley Robotics’ valet robot could allow the lots to be constructed with less frills. If drivers are not navigating the lots, there would be no need for lines to indicate parking spaces, and lighting can be minimal.
Stanley Robotics claims 20,000-30,000 cars can be taken over by a single robot during the course of a year.
You may not be ready to let your car drive itself just yet, but get ready to let a robot park it for you.