By Darrell Etherington
Nissan’s ProPILOT tech might mostly be used to help provide its cars with autonomous driving features, but a new project puts it into a chair. Yes, a chair.
The chair propels itself, detecting the chair ahead of it and keeping a fixed distance between itself and its neighbor, as it moves along a predefined path. It’s less flexible than the chairs in Wall-E (kudos to Megan for noticing the similarity), but perfect for alleviating the pains of an age-old human tradition – standing in line.
ProPILOT Chair is designed to make it a lot easier to wait for something, whether it’s the latest iPhone or just a seat at the city’s hottest brunch joint. It’s also going to actually be used in real-world applications, which is more than I expected at first glance from what seems so obviously like a marketing ploy.
Nissan is accepting applications between now and December 27 for restaurants in Japan who are interested in providing these for customers looking to take a seat and be ferried in queue while they wait. Applicants chosen from that group will get outfitted with the smart chairs in 2017, and between now and October 2 a public display at Nissan’s global HQ will show off six of the chairs operating in a live lineup simulation.
The whole thing still sounds vaguely ridiculous, but don’t discount it completely; a lot of carmakers, including Nissan competitor Toyota, are looking at solving future mobility in a broad sense, which also includes providing at-home and in-city solutions for an aging population. Also, I’ll definitely use one of these chairs to slide between work and gaming stations at home as soon as possible.
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