Autonomous Wheelchair Tested At Tokyo Airport

Aug 10, 2017 at 2:21 PM ET

Panasonic is testing autonomous wheelchairs at Tokyo Haneda Airport to bring simple and safe mobility to the disabled.

It works by setting up pick-up and drop-off destinations on a smartphone app. After that, the autonomous wheelchair arrives and transports the user to the chosen destination.

Once done, it will pick-up the next passenger or return to a docking station.

Sensors help it avoid collisions with pedestrians and luggage, and a tandem function enables the wheelchairs to travel in a group, giving disabled families the ability to travel together.

The wheelchairs will be tested at Haneda through March 2018, with plans to fully deploy at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.