Combining the ultimate in traditional Japanese hospitality with Nissan’s autonomous driving technology, a Japanese inn is treating guests to some unusual amenities—self-parking slippers, tables and floor cushions.
Combining the ultimate in traditional Japanese hospitality with Nissan’s autonomous driving technology, a Japanese inn is treating guests to some unusual amenities—self-parking slippers, tables and floor cushions. In the photos released to the media by Nissan, the ProPilot Park Ryokan—a ryokan is a type of traditional Japanese inn—in the small town of Hakone near Tokyo looks like any other inn where slippers are neatly lined up at the foyer and guests remove their shoes to get into these slippers. However, what sets the inn apart is that the slippers, tables and floor cushions are rigged with a special version of Nissan’s ProPilot Park autonomous parking technology. So, when not in use, they automatically return to their designated spots at the push of a button. Each slipper, the company said, is equipped with two tiny wheels (see photo), a motor and sensors to ‘drive’ across the wooden lobby floor using ProPilot Park technology. Nissan, the Japanese carmaker, uses this technology in the latest version of its Leaf electric car, in which high-tech sensors and cameras allow the car to locate and reverse into parking spots without any driver input. Nissan added it will offer a free night at the ryokan for one pair of travellers, and for a chance to win, contestants must post on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtags #PPPRyokan and #wanttostay between January 25 and February 10. “The self-parking slippers are meant to raise awareness of automated driving technologies, and their potential, non-driving applications,” Nissan spokesman Nick Maxfield told Reuters. Many of the world’s auto companies are developing self-driving technologies. The ProPilot Park was first introduced in the new Leaf in Japan in October 2017, and Nissan plans to market a car that can drive itself on city streets by 2020. In Japan, Nissan said it has already sold 75,000 vehicles equipped with ProPilot autonomous driving technology.