New technology that is being utilised at Dusseldorf Airport aims to make the worry of airport parking a thing of the past.
We've all suffered the inevitable stress that occurs before you go on holiday. Worries of “have I remembered the tickets?" and “Did I lock the backdoor?" cycle through your head throughout the journey to the airport. Then once you arrive there's the unavoidable drive around a gigantic car park where there's no spaces; the whole time worrying about missing your flight.
The new valet system is booked through a new phone app, this ensures that everything is arranged prior to you even leaving your house. Once you arrive at the airport, you simply park up in the designated drop off zone – the 'Vehicle Transfer Station' or VTS - and then confirm on a large touchscreen once the car is empty and ready for pick up.
Shortly after, the automated valet system, nicknamed 'Ray', will manoeuvre into position and move the car to one of 249 reserved parking spaces. Before moving the vehicle Ray uses lasers to figure out the dimensions of the car and the position of its doors and mirrors. Once the measurements are calculated Ray will move in and lift the vehicle in much the same way as a fork lift – placing its fork under the vehicles wheels. The system can lift anything up to 3.3 tons, meaning it can lift nearly any car on the road.
Ray is connected to the flight database and therefore knows what time you should be returning and will need to pick up your car. The traveller has the option to tell Ray that they're collecting baggage and need a bit longer or change plans completely using the phone app.