Tired of standing in queues? Nissan's self-driving chair may be for you

In the United Kingdom, standing in a line is something of a national pastime – but few would say it is one they enjoy. For the tired legs of Britain and elswhere, however, queueing could soon be a thing of the past.

Nissan today unveiled the latest in a series of innovations designed to bring the benefits of its Intelligent Mobility blueprint to the daily lives of customers. Named after the company’s flagship autonomous driving technology, the ProPILOT Chair detects and automatically follows the chair ahead of it, maintaining a fixed distance and travelling along a set path, negotiates queues on behalf of its occupant and spares them the ordeal of standing in line.

The self-piloting chair closely resembles how the ProPILOT system for vehicles – which now features in the Serena minivan in Japan – maintains a safe distance behind the car ahead, and ensures that the vehicle stays in the centre of its lane.

“Following the success of the Intelligent Parking Chair earlier this year, ProPILOT Chair appeals to anyone who has queued for hours outside a crowded restaurant: it eliminates the tedium and physical strain of standing in line,” says the company.

“The same user-friendly philosophy underpins Nissan’s ProPILOT autonomous driving technology, which was designed to ease driver workload by assisting with the most tiring and repetitive aspects of driving in heavy highway traffic. The unifying concept behind both is Intelligent Mobility, Nissan’s vision for how cars will be driven, powered, and integrated into society.”

Proponents envisage the device being used in places where queueing is a tiresome reality – such as airports and entertainment venues. But in a world where obesity is becoming and ever-growing problem, quite how health advocates will view the development is uncertain.

Nissan says it will also ensure that the ProPILOT Chair receives plenty of real-world testing. Between now and December 27, restaurants across Japan can apply to use the chairs by tweeting their name and webpage along with the hashtags #NissanProPilotChair #Wanted. For all other Twitter users, the recommended hashtag is #NissanProPilotChair.

The chairs will appear at selected restaurants next year. In the meantime, from September 29 through October 2, the public gallery at Nissan’s Global Headquarters in Yokohama will play home to an exhibit featuring six of the chairs. Visitors will be able to try the chairs and see them in action in a queue simulation.

Perhaps the gallery should prepare for an influx of eager if leg-weary British visitors.


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Chris Nelson

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