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Airport World reviews some of the latest airport parking stories from across Europe and North America.

London’s Gatwick Airport has signed a framework contract with Stanley Robotics that will see it become the first UK airport to trial robots to valet park passengers’ cars.

The trial will run from the second half of 2019 to early 2020 and passengers will simply leave their car in a well-lit, spacious ‘parking station’ close to the South Terminal entrance and – without handing over keys – the driverless robot will gently lift up the car and store it in a secure car park.

The system will also be connected to real-time flight information so the robot simply returns the vehicle to the parking station. The user then receives an SMS that the vehicle is ready and waiting for their arrival.

Gatwick’s chief commercial officer, Guy Stephenson, enthuses: “The valet parking robots could revolutionise parking at Gatwick and may also become common-place at airports and other businesses across the world.

“The new service will be a convenient, personalised experience that will save passengers time, while also reducing vehicle emissions.

“With the potential to significantly increase car park capacity, this new automated system could also help the airport meet the increasing demand for air travel with only limited changes to our existing infrastructure.”

Stéphane Evanno, COO of Stanley Robotics, says: “We are proud to be leading this innovation with Gatwick Airport, whose excellence in operations is recognised globally.

“The UK is of strategic importance to Stanley Robotics; the market provides exciting potential for our product. Thanks to this first partnership, we have established an office and team in the country to further this agenda.

“We are now working with Gatwick to offer visitors a world class experience. We aim to completely reinvent the parking experience and create a seamless customer journey.

“In addition, we will be maximising the efficient use of land for Gatwick and bringing them a sustainable solution, allowing us to envisage long-term collaboration.”

Assisting San Antonio

In the US, Park Assist’s M4 Parking Guidance System (PGS) is to be installed in the Long Term Garage at San Antonio International Airport, which spans five levels and contains more than 5,400 parking spaces.

The Texas gateway says that it chose to implement Park Assist’s M4 PGS because of features such as Park Finder, Park Alerts, and Park Surveillance.

The M4 camera-based smart-sensor PGS is used to help quickly and effortlessly guide visitors to available parking spaces.

The patented, camera-based technology guides customers upon entry to vacant spots using colour coded, smart-sensors, reducing dwell time and getting customers to their gates faster.

And upon their return, travellers can easily locate their vehicle using the company’s Park Finder integrated with a Mobile API. Customers simply enter their license plate number and Park Assist’s M4 system quickly searches the database to find the car’s exact location using License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology.

Parking management will also be able to ensure compliance with the airport’s parking policies by deploying the company’s software product, Park Alerts, which provides automated alert signals to parking management when a vehicle has been improperly parked.

Park Surveillance is an extension of the camera based smart-sensor that captures streaming video whenever motion is detected in or around a space. Captured streaming video helps manage risk for the facility owner and provides customers peace of mind while away from their vehicle.

San Antonio International Airport is an existing client and has Park Assist’s M4 Camera-based PGS installed in their Short Term Garage and, because of its reliability and accuracy, decided to extend the system into its Long Term Garage.

The US gateway is confident that the new technology will help it fulfill its objective of enhancing the customer experience through an elevated parking experience.

“We are looking forward to once again partnering with San Antonio International Airport to provide travellers with a timely, simplified and stress-free parking experience,” says Vince Balsamo, Park Assist’s general manager for North America.


Scottish power

AeroParker has been contracted by Glasgow Airport to power its online and mobile pre-booking service for car parking and other services at the gateway.

According to AeroParker, its platform will enable a new slick customer experience for passengers wishing to guarantee a parking space and any available ancillaries in advance of their arrival at the airport.

It notes that the new system’s functionality will include AeroParker’s loyalty module that is being integrated with Glasgow Airport’s CRM provider; third party channel integration via REST API for speed of delivery of pricing and availability; and destination products for the return leg, such as lounges, purchased in the basket before travel.

Passengers will also have a number of payment options that include PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay as well as debit and credit cards.

Frasor Ralston, e-commerce and digital manager for Glasgow Airport, commented: “We continually strive to provide a frictionless digital passenger experience and AeroParker was a natural choice to fit in with our objectives.

“We are delighted to be able to offer our passengers a one-basket approach which provides a simplified and efficient booking process that is increasingly important to our customers.”

Jon Keefe, CEO of AeroParker, noted: “We are very pleased to welcome Glasgow Airport as a customer together with the exciting innovations in delivering a slicker passenger experience for their customers.”

Nashville’s new technology-integrated parking facility

Parking just got easier at Nashville International Airport following the opening of a new $102 million Atkins Global designed technology-integrated parking and ground transportation centre.

Built by JE Dunn Construction, the new complex is a component of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority’s BNA Vision, a $1.2 billion expansion and renovation plan to accommodate regional population growth and the airport’s record-breaking passenger increases.

The new parking and transportation centre project was completed under budget, and features a six-level, 2,200-space garage equipped with parking guidance which includes sensors to direct drivers to open parking spaces.

The facility also features car-locator kiosks. Other amenities include electric-vehicle charging stations and a fee-free tyre-inflation location. A covered walkway connects the parking garage and terminal, and flight-information displays at five passenger elevators on the first level guide travellers on the move.

Level 1 of the garage is a dedicated hub for taxis, limos, buses, shuttles and ride-sharing services, and provides three passenger waiting areas.

The project’s sustainability features include a rainwater-harvesting system supporting landscape irrigation, and a green-screen irrigated wall.

ParkVia expands in Poland

ParkVia continues to grow in Poland, signing a deal with Katowice International Airport earlier this year and recently agreeing an extension to its partnership with Lodz Airport.

The company has enjoyed a successful six-year collaboration with Lodz, during which time it has worked with the airport on the marketing and online distribution of its parking products and delivered a pre-booking engine, which has created a streamlined reservation process for customers looking for parking online.

Robert Makowski, head of route and business development at Lodz Airport, said: “With 31 European capitals within the range of regional flights from Lodz Airport, the potential to capture passenger interest in pre-bookable parking is vast, which is why effective marketing is essential.

“As the airport remains in a phase of intensive development, it’s important that we continue to build upon partnerships that assist us in delivering a more comprehensive journey experience for our passengers. We’re delighted to be pushing forward with our joint collaboration with ParkVia and look forward to another successful year.”


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