Panasonic, in cooperation with WHILL, has developed a self-operating automatic wheelchair for people with disabilities. The wheelchair has a very specific application – it’s designed for use in airports. The information about this device was published in the company’s press release. Here’s a further review.
The chair is controlled with a special mobile phone app. In the app, the user picks the destination and after that the chair goes to the location. For navigating around the airport and finding the optimal route, the chair uses a map uploaded to the device’s memory. The chair is also very smart – it has special built-in sensors allowing the chair to avoid collisions with obstacles or other passengers. After the passenger gets to the destination, the chair will automatically return to the place of departure.
In addition, the chair can move synchronously with others which will allow a group of passengers with disabilities to reach their destination together.
According to the plan of the developers, the tests of autonomous self-driving wheelchairs will be held from August 8, 2017 to March 31, 2018 at the Tokyo Haneda Airport.