The ProPilot Chair uses the automaker's autonomous driving technology.
No, it’s not April Fools: Nissan really has developed a chair that can queue autonomously. When the occupant gets up, the ProPilot Chair moves by itself to the end of the line, ready for the next person to join the queue.
According to Nissan, it saves people “the hassle of standing in line”. Indeed.
It may seem like a bit of PR fluff, but there’s a serious point to be made. The chair uses the same technology that underpins Nissan’s ProPilot autonomous driving technology. The system uses a series of cameras dotted around the car to monitor its surroundings, which allows the car to drive autonomously in single-lane traffic while maintaining a safe distance from the car in front. It’s like Tesla’s Autopilot system, then, but without the lane-change capability.
The latest version of the Japanese-market Serena minivan became the first Nissan to be available with ProPilot when it went on sale in August. Expect to see it on other models sold around the world in due course.
The ProPilot chair uses the camera sensors to monitor when the chair ahead moves and then activates the electric motors to follow. When it comes back down the line, it follows a pre-set path, using the cameras to make sure it doesn’t hit anything on the way.
Below is a video of the chair in action, and of the design and development process.
Earlier this year, Nissan revealed its Intelligent Parking Chair, which uses the automatic parking system found in some Nissan models to, well, park at a table.
Nissan will run public demonstrations of the ProPilot Chair at restaurants across Japan in 2017 - venues can apply to take part until December 27. In the meantime, six of the chairs will be available for use at a special exhibition in the public gallery at Nissan’s Yokohama headquarters from September 29 to October 2.