ANA is teaming up with Panasonic to test the latest generation of personal mobility, self-driving electric wheelchairs at Tokyo Narita International Airport. The collaboration is part of a far-reaching plan to increase mobility and accessibility options and incorporating robotic elements that will make wheelchairs a safer mobility solution for passengers connecting to their flights.
Since Narita Airport is an international hub, many travelers must walk a long distances to reach their connecting flights. The airport’s size and high volume of activity can make this inconvenient with difficulty that is compounded for elderly travelers with mobility issues. In order to meet these demands and keep Narita Airport operating at the highest level, ANA and Panasonic are teaming to run trials on new electric wheelchairs that boast tracking capabilities that allow them to navigate the crowded airport.
The self-driving electric wheelchair was jointly developed by Panasonic and WHILL Co., Ltd. And is capable of independently detecting and avoid people and obstacles on the way to their destinations. The wheelchairs function by following a predetermined leader to a common destination. ANA staff will be on hand to serve as guides.