ANA partners with Panasonic to test power wheelchairs at Narita Airport

All Nippon Airways (ANA) will work with Panasonic to test the latest generation of powered cheelchairs as part of a far-reaching plan to increase mobility and accessibility options at Tokyo Narita Airport.

Incorporating robotic elements, these wheelchairs will be capable of navigating the airport independently, making them an ideal mobility solution for Japan’s growing population of senior citizens.

ANA is constantly looking to innovate and provide the most advanced airport services, previously experimenting with autonomous towing tractors and other high-tech solutions.

As an international hub, Narita Airport is the busiest airport in the country, seeing hundreds of thousands of travellers each day. This volume of activity can make navigating the airport a challenge, especially for elderly travellers and those with mobility issues.

In order to meet the demands of all travellers and keep Narita Airport operating at the highest level, ANA Narita Airport Service is teaming with Panasonic to run trials on new power wheelchairs which boast tracking capabilities that allow them to navigate the bustling airport.

“Narita Airport is a gateway to Japan for millions of travellers every year and we seek to partner with other leading Japanese innovators to make sure that arrival, departure and making connections are all as convenient as possible,” said Juichi Hirasawa, senior vice president of ANA.

“ANA’s partnership with Panasonic will make Narita Airport more welcoming and accessible, both of which are crucial to self-driving electric wheelchair Testing the electric wheelchair at Narita Airport maintaining the airport’s status as a hub for international travel in the years to come. The robotic wheelchairs are just the latest element in ANA’s multi-faceted approach to improving hospitality in the air and on the ground.”

The self-driving electric wheelchair jointly developed by Panasonic and WHILL Co., Ltd., is capable of independently detecting and avoid people and obstacles on the way to their destinations.