• Reuters

  • SHARE

Old traditions are constantly being updated with new technology, and one ryokan (guesthouse) is making use of automated driving technology to offer the latest in hands-free hospitality — self-driving slippers.

Nissan Motor Co. has developed a system for slippers to “park” themselves at the entrance of the traditional inn at the push of a button, ready for guests to use upon arrival.

Each slipper is equipped with two tiny wheels, a motor and sensors to “drive” across the wooden lobby floor using Nissan’s ProPilot Park technology.

The automaker uses the same technology in the latest version of its all-battery electric Leaf vehicle. High-tech sensors and cameras allow the car to locate and back into parking spots without any driver input.

A simplified version of the technology has been installed at the ryokan, which is located in the Mount Fuji-area resort town of Hakone. Selected guests will be able to experience the technology in March.

“The self-parking slippers are meant to raise awareness of automated driving technologies — and their potential, nondriving applications,” said Nissan spokesman Nick Maxfield.

And it is not just the slippers that scurry across the inn’s floors. Tatami-matted guest rooms feature floor cushions and chabudai (traditional low tables) that also wheel themselves into place.

Many of the world’s top auto brands are developing self-driving technology. Nissan plans to market a car that can drive itself on city streets by 2020.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)