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Etihad Airways, along with Abu Dhabi International Airport and WHILL, has completed its trial of autonomous wheelchairs at the airport.

The trial, which is the second phase of the pilot project, was carried out from 2 to 6 December. The project started in September this year.

During the trial period, around 60 passengers with reduced mobility used the wheelchairs to safely move through the airport’s crowded areas and lounges to their gates.

After dropping passengers at their gates, the wheelchairs returned to the collection point independently.

The technology features sensors to identify an obstruction, which then activates the wheelchair’s automatic stop function.

Passengers were also supported by porters, who assisted their autonomous wheelchair use.

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By GlobalData

Etihad Aviation Group COO Mohammad Al Bulooki said: “The feedback we received from guests who participated in these trials was overwhelmingly positive, and I look forward to the possibility of offering our guests the choice of autonomous wheelchairs in the future.

“Etihad’s commitment to innovation remains strong, and we’re proud to invest in trials and projects like this, that give our guests a truly unique, seamless and independent experience when travelling with Etihad Airways.”

With this move, Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi International Airport have become the region’s first airline and airport to trial autonomous wheelchairs.

Last month, Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport in the US and Winnipeg Richardson International Airport in Canada announced trials of WHILL’s autonomous personal electric vehicles.

In October, Japan Airlines partnered with Japan Airport Terminal to trial WHILL’s self-navigating electric wheelchairs at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.