Flying at Gatwick will soon be way more fun, as a ridiculously sweet robot called Stan will park your car for you.
A new trial with Stanley Robotics starts in August and promises to make it easy and stress-free to leave your car at the airport while you're off on your jollies.
Basically, you put your car in a little carport and confirm you've dropped it off, then Stan the robot (named for Stanley Robotics, of course) comes to fetch it. He takes it to a car park where vehicles are arranged Tetris-style: no one needs to get in or out, so there doesn't need to be space between them, allowing for a third more cars in the same area.
The key thing to know, though, is how freakin' adorable this little guy is:
Technically, of course, he doesn't need big blue eyes. But it's well known that making tech cute is a shortcut to getting humans to accept it, and while robot storage is clearly a great idea in its own right, Stan's Wall-E adorableness doesn't hurt at all.
When you come back from your holiday, Stan has already fetched your car for you, since your parking is linked to your flight number.
The trial will run for three months, according to a planning application to Crawley council, and will require taking out 170 spaces (and all the lampposts) to create 270 new ones on a "robot-friendly surface."
Similar pilot schemes are being carried out at airports in France and Germany. A previous trial at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris received excellent feedback, with passengers apparently unaware a robot had even been part of the process. Their loss.