The New Normal in Air Travel: World’s first implementation of autonomous mobility service for passengers at an airport

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Haneda International Airport to offer WHILL’s fully autonomous mobility service for social distancing practice

The New Normal in Air Travel:WHILL Autonomous Drive System

“In the coronavirus era, we believe services that support mobility while maintaining social distancing will accelerate to replace human labor with robots and autonomous driving technologies.” said Satoshi Sugie, CEO of WHILL. “WHILL can provide a safe service that connects the last mile."

WHILL is pleased to announce that Haneda International Airport will be utilizing the WHILL Autonomous Drive System to optimize current PRM (Passengers with Reduced Mobility) operation while helping to prevent spread of infection. This is a first-of-its-kind solution being applied with the intention of addressing the COVID-19 situation impacting the world.

WHILL has conducted multiple trials of its autonomous drive system since 2019 in an effort to work towards establishing a seamless transportation experience for passengers at airports, taking them through to their departure gates. The WHILL Autonomous Drive System with self-driving technology was developed by WHILL to support those who have difficulty walking long-distances and individuals with limited mobility.

“In the coronavirus era, we believe services that support mobility while maintaining social distancing will accelerate to replace human labor 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.”

Trials have been conducted at airports across the globe, including Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (USA), Abu Dhabi International Airport (Arab Emirates), Winnipeg International Airport (Canada) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (USA) and more in an effort to steadily improve the accuracy, usability, and compatibility for airport operations in self-driving technology. A total of 11 trials have been conducted so far, with nearly 400 passengers and airport officials using the WHILL self-driving system.

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 Gate Number 3 through 7. 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 optimize the current Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM) service operation. WHILL is excited to introduce the WHILL Autonomous Drive System at more airports in the future, working to help meet the worldwide need to prevent spread of infection.

【Overview】

Dates: June 8, 2020

Location: Haneda International Airport, Terminal 1, Gates 3 through 7.

Detail: WHILL Autonomous Mobility Service will drive passengers from WHILL Station located near the security gate to designated boarding gates. Upon trip completion, the device will automatically return to its base.

Who is it for: Those who have difficulty walking long-distances and individuals with limited mobility departing from Haneda International Airport, Terminal 1.

【About WHILL Autonomous Drive System】
WHILL developed an autonomous drive system compatible with the WHILL Autonomous Models which are equipped with autonomous driving, anti-collision function. The WHILL Autonomous Drive System can manage and operate multiple devices simultaneously. The self-driving works by layering its surrounding information detected by sensors with map information about the area collected in advance.

WHILL has been on a mission since its founding in 2012 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 increase user confidence and independence. WHILL is reinventing the personal mobility industry with approachable and aesthetically pleasing powered vehicles that push the boundaries of personal transportation. WHILL’s current models of Intelligent Personal EVs include the Model Ci and Model A, which are both available to test drive and purchase.

In fall of 2018, the company joined forces with Scootaround – a leading personal transportation solutions company – to form a worldwide platform for assistive devices. Coupling WHILL’s Personal EVs with Scootaround’s device rental service means the team has the ability to accommodate each person’s diverse range of travel needs. Scootaround offers rental, sales, and repair services for mobility devices at over 2,500 locations, with a network of associates and dedicated locations across North America and Europe.

Headquartered in Yokohama, Japan with strategic offices in the US, Canada, China, and the EU, WHILL and Scootaround are focused on helping people with mobility issues increase their freedom and independence.

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Chris Koyama
WHILL Inc.
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