Each month, we profile the innovative startups that reside within Runway East to hear about their disruptive products, ideas and back stories. This month we’re featuring Stanley Robotics, the team behind the world’s first robotic parking service, Stan. We sat down for a chat with Stan to hear all about his work and his vision for the future.
Hey Stan. Nice to meet you. How’s your day going so far?
Nice to meet you too! It’s been a pretty busy day for me – myself and my team have already parked 81 clients’ cars and there are 20 more cars to get moving.
Nice! So tell us a bit about you. Who are you?! What do you do?
Sure – I’m Stan, a patented autonomous robot. My technology make up of lidar, GPS, and sensors allows me to take and move any cars, lifting them by the wheels and block-parking them efficiently. In fact, not to brag, but I optimise vehicle storage by placing cars in perfect lines.
Sounds like bragging to us. What’s a day in the life of Stan look like then?
Currently I work in the Lyon Airport long-stay car park, which means there’s a lot of passengers coming to the car park each day. After booking the service on the airport web store, passengers drop-off their car in a designated storage space before taking their flight. My job is to take the car and store it in a secured parking area by sliding underneath and lifting it by the tyres, with absolutely no need to start the car. Sometimes I’ll be alerted that a client is coming back and will quickly return it to the storage space so it’s waiting for them. Not only do I simplify the process for customers, but I optimise space to create up to 50% more parking storage.
We’ve seen your parking skills in action, and we’re impressed. How did you get people to trust that you were up to the job in the beginning?
We started with a POC (Proof of Concept) at Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport (Aéroports de Paris) in 2017. It was an indoor environment, so while it wasn’t exactly the same typology of car park compared to what I do now, it gave me the opportunity to show to many parking professionals that the service worked well.
Speaking of trust, what’s your opinion on humans who fear of robots taking over?
There’s no reason to fear! You should probably worry more about other humans than us. When it comes to worrying about trusting a robot with your car, just compare what we do to a regular car park with human drivers. We’re so much safer – not only is there no risk of damage but your car is in a protected safe area too.
Ok, we want to get personal. Can we hear about your erm…conception?
I was created by Clément Boussard, Aurélien Cord and Stéphane Evanno in 2015. They were working on different autonomous vehicle projects at the time and saw an opportunity to install software after discovering the existence of car movers – platforms which allow you to move vehicles without starting them. Instead of equipping cars with the autonomous software, they equipped me instead – a robot which spends 98 percent of it’s time parking cars, simplifying the parking experience and making car parks much more efficient.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
A few months ago, we delivered an industrial service at scale at Lyon airport, managing around 500 spaces with clients using our robotic car park every day. It was a huge milestone because when we started the year before, it was totally new and we had no frame of reference. We iterated during this year and by the end, we were able to manage many cars each day without difficulty. Go team!
What industries do you see yourself disrupting in the future?
Today we focus on 2 industries, airport car parks and car logistics compounds, but in the future I could be applicable to a whole range of markets; rental cars, train station parking, city-centre parking (and other complex logistics to be considered for a further product development phase). Put it this way: everything that needs to be moved will be moved autonomously!
Awesome! What’s coming up in the near future for you then?
Well you can actually expect to start seeing me more often, as we’ve recently signed with our first UK airport! Gatwick Airport will be the first in the UK to use robots to valet park – myself and 2 others will be trialling it at the beginning with about 300 cars to see how it goes. Fingers crossed!
We’ll keep them crossed for you! It was great meeting you Stan. Best of luck.
Read more about Stanley Robotics here.
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