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October 11, 2019

ANA starts trial of self-driving wheelchair at Tokyo-Narita Airport

All Nippon Airways (ANA) has expanded the trials for self-driving wheelchairs at Tokyo-Narita International Airport.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) has expanded the trials for self-driving wheelchairs at Tokyo-Narita International Airport in Japan.

The wheelchairs aim to assist passengers in navigating the airport.

The testing, which began on 9 October, will run until 28 November. Further plans include full implementation after the next year.

The testing is being conducted at Tokyo-Narita Airport due to its status as an important international hub.

Due to the large distances between gates, the airline plans to use 300 wheelchairs daily to aid passengers who require assistance.

The tests will evaluate whether the electric wheelchairs are capable of detecting and avoiding obstacles independently

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The wheelchairs follow a predetermined leader to the destination, while the airline staff will serve as guides.

ANA senior vice president Juichi Hirasawa said: “The self-driving wheelchairs integrate the latest smart technology to help those that are unfamiliar with Narita Airport reach their gates on time. ANA aims to simplify all aspects of the travel experience and these self-driving wheelchairs will help take some of the stress out of making connections at the airport.”

ANA first launched these wheelchairs for a series of successful tests in May. Their launch is part of the airport’s plan to boost mobility and accessibility options at Tokyo-Narita International Airport.

In January, Narita International Airport announced plans to extend the operational hours of one of its runways for landings and take-offs to boost operational efficiency.

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