An airline is testing technology to make travel easier for people with disabilities
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
For a number of months now, All Nippon Airways has been testing personal mobility, self-driving electric wheelchairs at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT). The test is part of the airline’s larger plan to help increase accessibility options at the busy hub.
Developed through a partnership between Panasonic and WHILL, a Japanese tech startup, the robotic chairs operate in a follow-the-leader fashion to reach a destination. The chairs are also capable of detecting and avoiding obstacles, though airline employees serve as guides.
Until now, testing hasn’t included actual passengers, but All Nippon Airways (often called ANA) just announced it’s expanding the tests so passengers can experience this innovative technology firsthand. The tests are scheduled to run from Oct. 9 through Nov. 28, with the hope that the chairs can be made available airport-wide after 2020.
Senior vice president Juichi Hirasawa said in a statement on Wednesday that “ANA has always prioritized making our services accessible, and we strive to set the standard for both technological innovation and accessibility so these tests will go a long way towards making sure that the full benefits of Narita Airport are open to all passengers.”
ANA uses nearly 300 wheelchairs per day to help transport passengers between gates. The robotic chairs will hopefully help in getting passengers to their connections on time and in a more efficient manner.
Air travel can be stressful for everyone, especially if you’re navigating the rules of emotional support animals or are traveling with an implant or prosthetic, for example. So it’s incredibly encouraging to see a major airline taking the initiative to advocate and innovate for travelers with disabilities.
Featured image courtesy of iurii/Shutterstock
WELCOME OFFER: 30,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: up to $100 annual CLEAR statement credit, up to $100 annual LoungeBuddy statement credit, 3x points on travel and transit, 3x points on restaurants worldwide
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
- Receive up to $100 per year in statement credits when you use the American Express® Green Card to pay for your CLEAR® membership at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. and Permissible Biometric Scanning Technology terms: eye scanning, irises scanning and fingerprints scanning.
- Use the American Express® Green Card to purchase lounge access through LoungeBuddy to any of the lounges in the LoungeBuddy network – no memberships, elite statuses, or first class tickets required. Earn up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year on your LoungeBuddy purchases.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $150 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees