Urban Transport

Self-driving electric wheelchairs to be tested at Narita Airport

Self-driving electric wheelcha...
To begin with, ANA staff will accompany the wheelchairs and serve as guides
To begin with, ANA staff will accompany the wheelchairs and serve as guides
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In a bid to help those with limited mobility get to the gate, Tokyo Narita International Airport is set to welcome a number of self-driving wheelchairs to its floors
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In a bid to help those with limited mobility get to the gate, Tokyo Narita International Airport is set to welcome a number of self-driving wheelchairs to its floors
To begin with, ANA staff will accompany the wheelchairs and serve as guides
2/3
To begin with, ANA staff will accompany the wheelchairs and serve as guides
Japan's largest airline, All Nippon Airways, has teamed up with Panasonic to explore new mobility solutions designed specifically for airports
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Japan's largest airline, All Nippon Airways, has teamed up with Panasonic to explore new mobility solutions designed specifically for airports

In a bid to help those with limited mobility get to the gate, Tokyo Narita International Airport is set to welcome a number of self-driving wheelchairs to its floors. With the ability to navigate the airport all on their own, the new wheelchairs are hoped to streamline foot traffic in one of Japan's busiest airports and form part of a wider plan to boost mobility options at such facilities.

From checking in, to moving through security, to walking briskly to make that connecting flight, navigating an airport can require passengers to cover quite a bit of ground. This can be demanding enough with a heavy bag or two in tow, and particularly so for the elderly or those with mobility issues.

It is with this in mind that Japan's largest airline, All Nippon Airways, has teamed up with Panasonic to explore new mobility solutions designed specifically for airports. The electric, robotic self-wheelchairs are an early product of that partnership, and as part of upcoming trials will use navigation software to make their way around the airport, avoiding people and obstacles en route to their destination.

In a bid to help those with limited mobility get to the gate, Tokyo Narita International Airport is set to welcome a number of self-driving wheelchairs to its floors
In a bid to help those with limited mobility get to the gate, Tokyo Narita International Airport is set to welcome a number of self-driving wheelchairs to its floors

To begin with, ANA staff will accompany the wheelchairs and serve as guides, with the vehicles hoped to just be a precursor to new technologies that improve mobility at airports at which it operates.

"Narita Airport is a gateway to Japan for millions of travellers every year and we seek to partner with other leading Japanese innovators to make sure that arrival, departure and making connections are all as convenient as possible," said Juichi Hirasawa, Senior Vice President of ANA.

Source: ANA

4 comments
Wombat56
I'd like to see those at some of our local shopping malls, whose size is becoming ridiculous at about 450 meters or more, end to end. An internal round trip is likely over a kilometer when you add extra distance walking around in the stores.
NoelFrothingham
...which is why we have parking lots.
Veronica Roach
Actually I think if they park them unattended they will find them totally taken by anybody who is fed up with lugging their cases/kids around on 2 feet ! They look very suitable as just small, neat 'airport/mall personal vehicles' - just make hundreds of 'em & we will use them quite happily ! I had already been wondering if I would be allowed to use a small rider mower to get around one day when I'm too old to drive my car !!!
Douglas Bennett Rogers
These are rented to ambulatory people in Las Vegas.