Nissan’s Self-driving … chairs!?

A month or so ago we told you about Nissan’s incredible innovation (the ProPilot system) and how it is going to save your nerves and your calf muscles in traffic. Technologically it represents giant leap towards realizing the goal that is self-driving cars. Sadly, the morning commute is not the only hurry-up-and-wait torture endured by modern man. Lines and queues are among the great evils of our time. We stand in line to board planes, for a few measly kernels of popcorn or even just for our daily bread. We queue up for the privilege of renewing our vehicle registration or even just to empty our bladders. Well, no more!

(Although obviously you should continue to empty your bladder when the need is pressing.)

Trust the Japanese automaker to take the concept of self driving cars and apply it where it is most needed: queues. Enter the self-driving chair! … No, seriously! They don’t run on rails and they’re not remote operated. Imagine a flock of geese flying south for the winter. Watching them, you could almost believe they share a hive mentality, so meticulously choreographed are their movements. Now, replace those geese with something that looks like a mobility scooter’s lean cuisine cousin. (On the ground, obviously – we’re talking about self-driving cars. Flying cars are next month…) Et voilá! (Or whatever the Japanese equivalent is.)

Japanese restaurants may apply to Nissan to have these chairs installed outside their doors so patient customers can take a seat while they wait. The chairs march onward in orderly lines and when the foremost has successfully delivered its occupant, it breaks formation and returns to the back of the line, on its lonesome, to await new customers. Some enterprising art museums and galleries have even adopted the ProPilot Chairs as a means of ferrying visitors along among the exhibits, providing an ambulatory component to the already automated audio guide.

While it is doubtful that we will see these ProPilot Chairs in South Africa any time soon, it is enough to know that they exist and that we will benefit from the technology once it has flown South for the winter. If you really feel like you’re missing out, you can always take your ProPilot equipped (i.e. second generation) Nissan Leaf to the drive-through.


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