This article was written in part by Business Traveller Asia Pacific.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is taking the definitive step towards quality service for all its customers with its move to increase accessibility options for travellers with mobility issues at Tokyo Narita International Airport. Commemorating the partnership between Panasonic and Japanese electric wheelchair manufacturer Whill, new self-driving electric wheelchairs are up now up for trial.
The vehicles are programmed to detect and avoid obstacles (including people) while travelling via predetermined leader to its destination. A member of the ANA staff will also be available to provide guidance and assistance.
“Narita Airport is a gateway to Japan for millions of travellers every year and we seek to partner with other leading Japanese innovators to make sure that arrival, departure and making connections are all as convenient as possible,” said Juichi Hirasawa, ANA senior vice president.
“The robotic wheelchairs are just the latest elements in ANA’s multi-faceted approach to improving hospitality in the air and on the ground.”
The move to introduce automated vehicular use to boost accessibility was already in motion at another major airport in Tokyo, Haneda, which saw the testings of driverless buses.