In an interesting twist on what may the first of many spinoffs of autonomous vehicle technology but have nothing to do with cars, trucks, or buses, Nissan is about to pilot self-driving chairs. The ProPilot Chair uses the same technology that keeps Nissan’s vehicles moving in a highway lane with safe spacing from the vehicle in front.
Nissan chose restaurant waiting lines for its initial test group. The company is open to applications from now until December 27 from Japanese restaurants that want to test the technology. The restaurants selected will be set up with ProPilot chairs and any other required components in 2017. Nissan is currently demonstrating the ProPilot Chair concept with six chairs in a simulated line at Nissan’s global corporate headquarters in Yokohama. The demo chair line will be open for public viewing until October 2.
The ProPilot Chair technology crossover is similar to Nissan’s Intelligent Parking Chair, which built on the manufacturer’s self-parking car tech. In the real world, chairs that let you rest while waiting in line has more apparent usefulness than a self-parking chair with Wi-Fi-controlled cameras that saves you the second or two it takes to push a chair under the table.
If you think of all the places you have to wait in line for more than just a few minutes, those are potential applications for self-driving chairs. Restaurants are a good start, but what about lines to buy tickets to shows or events, lines at the bank (for people who still enter physical banks), or even airport security lines?
Maybe someday when we go to the airport, we’ll immediately take a seat that will transport us to the check-in counter, through security, and right onto the plane. That airport example is pushing it a bit, but certainly, a great place to install ProPilot Chairs would in most state motor vehicle departments.