Passengers heading to Gatwick airport and leaving their car there will soon have it whisked away by a robot valet.
The fleet of droids will put cars closer to one another than is possible with human drivers and therefore be able to fit a third more cars in the same area.
A trial is starting in August which will see customers leave their car in a drop-off zone before summoning a robot through a designated app.
Military grade GPS will guide the machine to the car where forklift-like equipment will approach the car from the front, slide under the car’s body and move it to a specific spot.
A three-month trial will see the robots, named Stan, take to Gatwick’s car parks.
Gatwick’s trial will take place in part of the South Terminal’s long-stay car park.
Existing infrastructure such as parking space markings and lampposts will be replaced with a smooth surface for the robots and room for 100 more vehicles.
A car’s shape and size is scanned by the equipment to ensure they are safely steered to where they need to go.
Each journey is logged and corresponds to the passenger’s flight number.
The scheme was revealed planning in an application to Crawley council.
Technology in the system has been developed by French firm Stanley Robotics and will help combat the summer rush.
According to the Evening Standard, Stéphane Evanno, Stanley Robotics’ co-founder, said: ‘We call it a valet parking robot because people just need to drop off their car at the entrance of the car park and then they can basically leave and catch a flight, but it’s doing more than just valet parking.’
Trials of the same technology have previously been going on at Paris, Lyon and Düsseldorf.
A five-month trial at Charles de Gaulle airport last year was a tremendous success, customers were oblivious that a robot was even involved in the process.