Apparently, there’s a place in Japan where every day household items like tables, floor cushions, and yes, ordinary household slippers move by themselves. It sounds like a job for the Ghostbusters, but before you grab your EMF detector and digital voice recorder and book a flight to the Far East, know that the case has already been solved. Turns out it was the crazy engineers at Nissan all along. And they would’ve gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for us pesky kids.
Back in October, Nissan introduced its ProPilot Park tech in Japan on its Leaf EV. As the name suggests, it’s a self-parking feature that places the car neatly into spaces, be it normal or parallel. To help promote the new feature, the automaker decided to equip it on certain household items at a Japanese inn called, appropriately enough, the ProPilot Park Ryokan. It makes complete sense if you think about it, because a floor pillow that moves around on its own is exactly like a car. As for slippers? People wear them on their feet – the same feet that operate the accelerator and brake pedal . . . on a car. Actually, don't think about it at all. It doesn’t make even a teeny bit of sense.
How do these things work? Well, Nissan doesn’t really tell us. Obviously there are electronics and sensors and motors in the items, and we can see a tiny pair of wheels underneath a slipper that moves it around. We really hope those wheels retract when people wear them, and yes, Nissan does say these are for people to actually use. Even if the wheels do tuck in, we can’t imagine they’d be super comfortable to walk around in.
However, just think about the prank potential. Oh look, here comes grandma carrying a birthday cake. Quick, turn the slippers on! We apologize to grandmothers everywhere for having such thoughts.
Admittedly, few people would probably pay attention to an automaker droning on about a self-parking electric car. Self-parking slippers on the other hand, that’s interesting. Well played, Nissan.
Gallery: Nissan ProPilot Autonomous Slippers
Hotel guests get a kick out of Nissan’s self-parking slippers
YOKOHAMA, Japan – Combining the ultimate in traditional hospitality with Nissan’s autonomous driving technology, one Japanese inn is treating guests to some unusual amenities: self-parking slippers, tables and floor cushions.
At first glance, the ProPILOT Park Ryokan looks like any other traditional Japanese inn, or ryokan. Slippers are neatly lined up at the foyer, where guests remove their shoes. Tatami rooms are furnished with low tables and floor cushions for sitting.
What sets this ryokan apart is that the slippers, tables and cushions are rigged with a special version of Nissan’s ProPILOT Park autonomous parking technology. When not in use, they automatically return to their designated spots at the push of a button.
First introduced in the all-new Nissan LEAF in Japan in October 2017, ProPILOT Park detects surrounding objects and lets drivers automatically park the vehicle in a selected parking space by pressing a button. The same technology is being used in the amenities at the ProPILOT Park Ryokan during a demonstration to entertain guests and reduce staff workload.
How to experience ProPILOT Park Ryokan
Nissan will offer a free night at the ProPILOT Park Ryokan, located in Hakone, Japan, for one lucky pair of travelers. For a chance to win, contestants must post on Twitter using the hashtags #PPPRyokan and #wanttostay between Jan. 25 and Feb. 10.
Visitors to the Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery in Yokohama can also experience the atmosphere of the ProPILOT Ryokan and try on the actual self-parking slippers at a dedicated exhibition booth, open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Feb. 1-4. The Gallery is at 1-1-1 Takashima, Nishi-ku, Yokohama.