Engineering 101

The slippers that tidy themselves away

Forget autonomous cars - autonomous slippers are the future

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If you thought self-driving cars were a big deal, you might want to sit down for this one.

Nissan has developed a system for slippers to ‘park’ themselves at the entrance of a traditional Japanese guesthouse by automatically returning to a designated spot after use.

  1. Guests arriving at the guesthouse in Hakone, southwest of Tokyo, are greeted with a pair of slippers to wear.
  2. Once removed these slippers can ‘park’ themselves back at the entrance just by pushing a button.
  3. All in a bid to both delight travelers and market its semi-autonomous ProPilot driving technology.

Part of a marketing campaign to raise awareness of automated driving technologies, the stunt applies Nissan’s autonomous parking technology to everyday objects.

ProPilot Park technology

The self-driving technology functions in a similar way to Nissan’s battery-powered electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf – which won Best of Innovation at this year’s CES.

Each slipper is equipped with two tiny wheels, a motor and sensors, allowing them to drive autonomously across the wooden floor of the guesthouse with Nissan’s ProPilot Park technology.

Credit: Dezeen
Credit: Dezeen

Using sensors they can locate and park themselves in designated space. Nissan also included other self-driving items in the guesthouse such as floor cushions and traditional low tables, so guests are treated to the not-at-all-creepy sight of autonomous footwear and furniture scuttling across the floor.

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

Nissan will invite selected guests to experience the technology, when the guesthouse opens in March 2018.

Many of the world’s top auto brands are developing self-driving technology, including Tesla, which has created the first mass-market electric vehicle.

Source Dezeen

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