Travelers with or without limited mobility can experience a smooth and innovative transportation experience at the Haneda airport by test driving WHILL’s Intelligent Personal Vehicles
WHILL, Japan Airlines (JAL) and Japan Airport Terminal (JAT) today announced the trial of the WHILL autonomous driving personal electric vehicles (EVs) at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan.
A joint project with Japan Airlines and Japan Airport Terminal, WHILL aims to create the world’s first “smart airport” by providing seamless transportation to those with limited mobility, reducing wait times often experienced in airports. Travelers in Haneda airport will be given the opportunity to move around the airport freely without the assistance of a staff member. WHILL’s Personal EVs come with sensors to identify obstructions and offer an automatic stop function, with other features including real-time gate and boarding time updates, which will be made available at a later date.
“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 travelers with limited mobility the best service possible at Haneda Airport,” said Satoshi Sugie, Founder and CEO of WHILL. “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.”
The implementation of the autonomous Personal EVs will help contribute to the company’s vision for an improved mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) model. There are many companies and new technologies that are currently innovating within the MaaS industry, but there has been limited innovation around moving shorter distances – especially for people with reduced mobility. WHILL aims to improve the current travel landscape for mobility device users by increasing their freedom and independence in airports, sports venues, shopping centers and public sidewalks.
“We aim to bring to life “smart airports” where a seamless travel experience is a reality for everyone, including those with mobility issues. 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.” said Atsushi Maeda, Executive Officer, Airport Division of Japan Airlines. “By joining forces with WHILL and Japan Airport Terminal, we are able to show travelers the benefits of a program like this, and from a business perspective it opens up growth initiatives that we are excited to explore.”
WHILL is excited to be a partner in demonstrating the proof-of-concept for the Haneda Robotics Lab project around implementing robotics in society. Established in 2016, the activities of the lab are meant to help Japan Airport Terminal provide a safe and comfortable experience for airport visitors, while showcasing world-leading robotic technologies for airports.
The autonomous trial will be debuting in early November at the Haneda Airport Terminal 1 South Wing.
WHILL has been on a mission since its founding in 2013 to transform the traditional wheelchair and scooter experience. With innovative design and state-of-the-art technology, WHILL created a new category of Intelligent Personal Electric Vehicles (EVs) to create confidence and increase independence. WHILL is reinventing the personal mobility industry with approachable and aesthetically pleasing powered vehicles that push the boundaries of personal transportation. In fall of 2018, the company joined forces with Scootaround – a leading personal transportation solutions company, to form a worldwide platform for assistive devices. Headquartered in the Bay Area and Winnipeg with offices located all over the world, WHILL and Scootaround are focused on helping people with mobility issues by increasing their freedom and independence.
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About Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines (JAL) was founded in 1951 and became the first international airline in Japan. A member of the oneworld® alliance, the airline now reaches 405 airports in 66 countries and regions together with its codeshare partners with a modern fleet of 232 aircraft. Awarded as one of the most punctual major international airlines and a certified 5-Star Airline by Skytrax, JAL is committed to providing customers with the highest levels of flight safety and quality in every aspect of its service, and aims to become one of the most preferred and valued airlines in the world.
Corporate News Group, Public Relations
Japan Airlines Co., Ltd.
About Japan Airport Terminal
The Japan Airport Terminal (JAT) Group is a purely private enterprise engaged in construction, management and operation of airport passenger terminals, which are public infrastructure with enormous importance. We are fully aware of the social responsibility associated with this role and aim for management that benefits both public good and business success.
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