Self-Driving Wheelchairs Tested at Haneda Airport


Tokyo, Dec. 2 (Jiji Press)--Trials have begun at Tokyo International Airport at Haneda to introduce next-generation self-driving electric wheelchairs for helping elderly and other people move more easily to boarding gates after checking in.

Japan Airlines <9201> aims to start using self-driving wheelchairs as early as in the year starting next April.

Currently, JAL offers manual wheelchairs at airports across the country. Around 100 JAL customers a day use wheelchairs at Haneda.

The self-driving wheelchairs JAL aims to introduce are designed to allow users to move without any escort. The wheelchairs automatically return to their home positions after use, making it unnecessary for workers to go and collect them.

A trial was conducted at Haneda Airport on Nov. 2-3 to see whether users could operate a self-driving wheelchair without hitting other people or obstacles and whether the wheelchairs would return to their original positions after use.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press