WHILL Haneda Trial man riding powerchair

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for passengers with reduced mobility, Japanese powerchair manufacturer WHILL has announced that Japan’s Haneda International Airport will adopt its Autonomous Drive System to help those with mobility needs.

Passengers arriving at the airport who feel uneasy about walking long-distances or that have mobility limitations can use the WHILL Autonomous Mobility Service to get to boarding gates three to seven.

The goal of the Autonomous Drive System is to reduce the risk of spreading infection through contact between wheelchair service staff and passengers at close range, as well as helping to optimise the current Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM) service operation.

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Upon trip completion, the device will automatically return to its base.

“In the coronavirus 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.”

The announcement follows a successful trial of WHILL’s advanced Mobility-as-a-Service model at Tokyo’s busiest airport last November.

11 trials have also been conducted at airports across the globe in total, including Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (USA), Abu Dhabi International Airport (Arab Emirates), Winnipeg International Airport (Canada) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (USA).

In March 2020, a couple of weeks before the lockdown, British Airways confirmed it was planning to trial the devices in Heathrow.

The company says it will now look to introduce its Autonomous Drive System at more airports in the future, working to help meet the worldwide need to prevent the spread of infection.

https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/WHILL-Haneda-Trial.jpg?fit=900%2C556&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/WHILL-Haneda-Trial.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Calvin BarnettCoronavirus NewsCOVID-19 Trade NewsNewsroomSupplier NewsTrade Newsairport,coronavirus,COVID-19,Haneda International Aiport,Japan,mobility devices,pandemic,passengers with reduced mobility,Tokyo,WHILL Autonomous Drive SystemTo reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for passengers with reduced mobility, Japanese powerchair manufacturer WHILL has announced that Japan's Haneda International Airport will adopt its Autonomous Drive System to help those with mobility needs.Passengers arriving at the airport who feel uneasy about walking long-distances or that have mobility...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals