WHILL TGA Scootaround_MaaS Concept

Mobility specialist TGA says it will be watching an innovative partnership between two mobility companies closely to find out if what opportunities there are to bring a potentially revolutionary mobility service to the UK.

WHILL, the Japanese manufacturer behind the Model Ci and Model A Personal Electric Vehicles (EV), is working with Scootaround, a North American-based provider of mobility products on a rental basis, to develop its Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) model, creating a mobility service that can be used normally like public transport.

An ambitious concept to revolutionise the way individuals travel, MaaS is the integration of various forms of transport services into a single mobility service that users can access on-demand, such as Uber.

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Whilst the MaaS market has largely been dominated by car- and bike-share schemes, there has been limited innovation developed around moving people shorter distances, especially for those with reduced mobility.

WHILL’s new MaaS model aims to address that, using its cutting edge powerchairs to form a worldwide platform for assistive devices that can be accessed by people in busy, large venues such as airports and hospitals, as well as urban ‘last-mile’ transportation.

Check out WHILL’s inspired Mobility-as-a-Service vision:

Together, WHILL and Scootaround will work together to develop the MaaS model, combining WHILL’s sleek and intuitive Personal EVs with Scootaround’s worldwide rental, repair and mobility management services.

“Our partnership with Scootaround is a huge step towards evolving the worldwide mobility transportation industry,” said Satoshi Sugie, Founder and CEO of WHILL.

“We are taking WHILL’s technology – unlike any other mobility technology out there – and combining it with the best mobility and rental service from Scootaround to create a world that will help people with mobility issues increase their independence and experience the world as they would like, free from any past mobility constraints.”

WHILL automated driving powerchair

WHILL is developing an Autonomous Drive System for its Personal EVs, where front-and rear-mounted cameras and sensors will provide what it describes as ultra-wide angle visibility and obstacle detection to tackle the complex challenges and obstacles found in venues, such as impeding and unpredictable pedestrian movement, pillars, furniture, debris, and elevation changes.

The devices will also use pre-collected map data compared against current driving situations to create the safest and optimal route to the rider’ s destination, with an auto-stop function to prevent a collision in the event an object unsafely enters its pathway.

“We are very active in the mobility market and joining forces with WHILL and its cutting-edge mobility technology was a progressive move to meet the market demand for enhanced service and superior products,” said Kerry Renaud, CEO and Managing Director of Scootaround.

“Together, we are allowing someone who requires a form of mobility assistance to travel seamlessly from their origin to final destination – whether that be at the airport, at their hotel, residence, resort, and so on.”

Potential for the UK

In the coming months, WHILL’s Model Ci will be available through Scootaround’s partnerships with airlines, cruise lines, convention centres and other venues across North America.

WHILL Model Ci in Airport

Keen to bring new innovation to the UK, the WHILL models are available exclusively through TGA Mobility, which brought the unique Japanese mobility devices to dealers in 2017.

Fascinated in the potential to transform and modernise the mobility market, Daniel Stone, Managing Director of TGA Mobility, commented: “These are exciting times to be involved with a company like WHILL, who are looking to change perceptions in the mobility market and how the market operates.”

“These plans are ambitious and this kind of software takes a lot of development. We will look to see how trials in North America go and look to see what we can learn and potentially bring to the UK.”

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