Japanese airport uses autonomous powerchair to distance passengers

Haneda Intl becomes first airport to use WHILL autonomous powerchair to help reduce the risk on infection from Covid-19
Whill, Haneda airport

Haneda International Airport in Tokyo, Japan, has employed an autonomous mobility system to transport passengers with limited mobility while preventing the spread of infection from Covid-19.

The WHILL Autonomous Drive System is designed to support passengers who have difficulty walking long-distances but this is the first time the solution has been used to help reduce the risk of infection.

Abu Dhabi International is among airports to have trialled the electric power chair, which launched kerbside last year.

“In the corona era, we believe services that support mobility while maintaining social distancing will accelerate to replace human labour with robots and autonomous driving technologies,” said Satoshi Sugie, CEO of WHILL.

“WHILL wants to provide a safe service that connects the last mile. We look forward to rapidly developing our business in order to help restore a world where people can move around with peace of mind and enjoyment.”

Trials have been conducted at airports across the globe, including Fort Worth International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport, Winnipeg International Airport and John F Kennedy International Airport.

A total of 11 trials have been conducted so far, with nearly 400 passengers and airport officials using the self-driving system.

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