GATWICK IS ONE DULL AIRPORT - in our humble opinion - but it's about to get interesting as its car park will have a fleet of valet-parking robots.
The airport will begin trials of the valet robots, which come courtesy of French firm Stanley Robotics, in August at its South Terminal and are aimed at reliving the stress of trying to find a parking spot while fussing about checking in bags and having enough time to go to town on the duty-free booze.
The trial will see travellers drive to a drop-off zone and use a dedicated app to summon one of the robots, which look like rather cute over-sized rectangular boxes.
Using a forklift and military-grade GPS navigation, the robo-valet will then lift up the car and take it to its designed parking bay while the travellers head off to one of the Gatwick's terminals.
Interestingly, there's no need to leave keys with the robots, meaning opportunistic thieves won't be able to pilfer them off the robot and go on a joy ride at the owner's expense.
The trial will only last three months, but the valet-parking robots have been used in other airports, notably Charles de Gaulle, and have been well-received.
Given these robots are trying to help humans rather than hinder, enslave or nick their jobs, it's not surprising they have received acclaim.
Mind you this is probably just the first stage of the robot revolution; first they come for your cars, then your pets, then you. Well, we meant that's probably what tech luminary and sound bite machine Steve Wozniak kinda believes in a roundabout fashion. And he's not alone, as presumably in-between glasses of poo water, Bill Gates has also cast doubt on robots as a force for good.
But heck, we'll take anything that gets us through Gatwick in a smoother and faster fashion, even if it means we get cold, dead looks from robots who are just biding their time before they rise up. µ
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