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October 29, 2019

Japan Airlines to trial WHILL autonomous wheelchairs at Haneda Airport

Japan Airlines has partnered with Japan Airport Terminal (JAT) to test WHILL’s self-navigating electric wheelchairs at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

Japan Airlines has partnered with Japan Airport Terminal (JAT) to test WHILL’s self-navigating electric wheelchairs at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

Trials will commence in early November at the airport’s Terminal 1 south wing.

The autonomous wheelchairs will allow passengers with reduced mobility to navigate the airport without any external assistance.

The electric vehicles (EVs) are equipped with sensors that can detect obstructions and stop the vehicle automatically.

They also feature real-time gate and boarding updates, which will be launched in the future.

WHILL CEO and founder Satoshi Sugie said: “We have been rolling out WHILL’s autonomous Personal EVs throughout select airports, and we are especially excited to be working with Japan Airlines and Japan Airport Terminal to provide travellers with limited mobility the best service possible at Haneda Airport.

“No one should have to stress over their travel experience. We’re offering a smooth, easy, enjoyable experience through our autonomous Personal EVs, with the goal of changing how people travel in the future.”

Japan Airlines Airport Division executive officer Atsushi Maeda said: “Airport travel can cause feelings of stress for customers with mobility issues, and our goal is to alleviate these stresses with the autonomous Personal EVs.

“This pertains to the overall travel experience, not only in the airport and inflight but the entire journey from home to destination, enriching the entire experience.”

All Nippon Airways (ANA) recently started trialling self-driving wheelchairs at Tokyo-Narita International Airport to simplify the travel experience.

ANA is looking to fully implement these autonomous wheelchairs at Narita Airport after 2020.

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