Every once in a while, a press release comes across the desk that results in a raised eyebrow and a quick glance at the calendar. After making sure it’s not April 1st, the release gets a re-read with a very skeptical eye. Today’s announcement from Nissan is one of those.
Nissan, as is the case with most automakers these days, is spending a lot of time and resources on developing sensors, controls, and software for cars that can either help you drive (features like lane guidance and adaptive cruise control), or drive for you. All of that effort and expense must have some other applications, right? Well, how about autonomous lines? We all have to wait in line. It might be at the motor vehicle office, it might be at a concert or a movie, or it might be waiting for a seat at a restaurant or at a museum exhibit. Standing in lines is boring. It’s also downright painful for millions. But what if you didn’t have to stand? Or watch the line move?
Nissan has you covered. They’ve taken their ProPilot autonomous driving tech that’s designed for taking over in heavy traffic and have given it a rest. They’ve developed an autonomous chair. The ProPilot chair detects the chair in front of it and follows it. It keeps a fixed distance and follows the line. When it gets to the front of the line, and you get out, it powers to the back of the line for the next person. The chairs can help you wait in line, give you a tour, they can even put themselves away! It follows in the robotic footsteps of the self-parking office chair they showed off earlier this year.
While it’s all a bit of a gimmick to show off the ProPilot tech that launched on the Japanese market Serena van last month, Nissan is going big with this bit of fun, and restaurants across Japan have until December 27th to apply to use the chairs for their own lines. The chairs will also feature at an exhibit running from September 29 through October 2nd at Nissan’s Global HQ in Yokohama.
So while we all wait for self-driving cars, the self-driving beer line at the game might be the next big thing.
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