When next you fly out of JFK, you may see a self-driving wheelchair past you as you head to your departure gate as British Airways revealed today that it’s testing autonomous electric wheelchairs at the country’s sixth-busiest airport with the aim of helping passengers with mobility needs.
British Airways didn’t say anything as to its speed, but each unit can avoid obstacles and other people with the help of anti-collision technology. The new technology will be able to navigate the terminal without assistance from airport personnel.
Another interesting part of the technology is that you can visit as many places as you want using the built-in display before finally boarding. Then when it drops you off at your departure gate, the self-driving wheelchair will find it way back to its docking station, and wait for its next passenger.
If you think you’ve seen it before it’s because it adapts Whill’s Model Ci design. The self-driving wheelchair was tested at the CES 2018, driving it across the show floor at a brisk five miles per hour.
Then, Whill said it would sell the Model Ci for $4,000, which gives an insight to what the British Airways has invested in this project.
British Airways said it will conduct further test at Heathrow airport before taking it to other airports. The test are part of an ongoing five-year, £6.5 billion, almost $8.3 billion project by the airline to improve its customer experience.