Don't Have the Funds for a Self-Driving Car? Try a Self-Driving Chair Instead

The chair is designed for use in long lines

Don't Have the Funds for a Self-Driving Car? Try a Self-Driving Chair Instead
Image: Pixabay
September 30, 2016

Cars. Boats. Chairs?

Nissan has unveiled a new battery-powered autonomous chair known as the ProPilot. The company designed the chair to make it "easy and fun" for consumers waiting in line by transporting them along a fixed path without user input.

The chair "drives" along a pre-programmed path using embedded cameras to detect the distance between the chair and the one ahead of it. When one moves, the next one follows, maintaining a set distance between each chair. The passenger stands up upon reaching the front of the line. A weight sensor in the chair notices the lack of weight, and the chair automatically finds its way to the back of the line.

Consumer reactions on social media have been mixed, ranging from enthusiasm to apathy, but Nissan is using the opportunity to demonstrate the technology that its newest line of semi-autonomous minivans is using.

The ProPilot is not Nissan's first foray into autonomous chairs: earlier this year it adapted its intelligent park assist technology into a product known as the "Intelligent Parking Chair." This chair is meant to increase administrative efficiency by rolling itself to a predetermined position as a response to hand clapping, eliminating the need for a human to arrange the chairs.

This type of technology would be particularly beneficial in places with aging populations.

Nissan is encouraging restaurants throughout Japan to apply to test the chair and claims that those restaurants selected will have chairs available next year.