North American airports trial WHILL’s autonomous personal EVs

21 November 2019 (Last Updated November 21st, 2019 10:28)

Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in the US and Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG) in Canada have unveiled details from their trials of WHILL’s autonomous driving personal electric vehicles (EVs).

North American airports trial WHILL’s autonomous personal EVs
The EV is capable of independently returning to its original docking station after transporting passengers to their destinations. Credit: WHILL.

Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in the US and Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG) in Canada have unveiled details from their trials of WHILL’s autonomous driving personal electric vehicles (EVs).

Semi and fully autonomous trials at DFW were conducted on 14 and 15 November. Semi-autonomous trials at YWG are scheduled to be carried out on 12 and 13 December.

The move aims to help passengers with reduced mobility to navigate the airport. The EV uses WHILL’s airport model and can return to its original docking station independently after taking passengers to their required airport destinations.

Using sensors and automatic brakes, the airport model is capable of detecting and avoiding obstacles.

WHILL partnered with personal transportation solutions firm Scootaround to develop the mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) model that can navigate indoors and across uneven terrains.

Both companies aim to implement their MaaS services in all airports for an improved travel experience.

WHILL CEO and founder Satoshi Sugie said: “Travellers with reduced mobility usually have to wait longer times for an employee to bring them a wheelchair and be pushed to their gate, reducing their flexibility while travelling.

“We are now providing an opportunity for travellers with reduced mobility to have a sense of independence as they move about the airport and get from point A to point B as smoothly as possible.

“Our trials have proven to be successful in other countries and we’re excited to bring this initiative to North America for the first time.”

Earlier this year, Japan’s Haneda Airport and UAE’s Abu Dhabi Airport trialled the personal EVs.