by Donna Avina
Investment in technology for older Americans has almost tripled since 2017. Every company who makes wheelchairs wants to reinvent the wheel — or the wheelchair, with tech, including WHILL, which has a new Autonomous Drive System (ADS), which makes it self-driving. It was originally designed to be rented to travelers who want to cruise through huge crowds.
For those of us with mobility issues, better wheelchairs will be welcome so we can feel better about traveling. Traversing some of the international airports can be daunting when walking is no longer your best skill.
“As the boomer population is aging, everybody still wants to travel,” says WHILL’s marketing director Justin Gagnon, who notes that the company’s partnerships with airports will make that travel and airports easier and more fun.
“Demand for airport pushes, requests for mobility assistance, is going up by at least 15 percent per year. Each push costs the airlines $45 to $60 per person.” Airports could save money with WHILL. It’s the mobility-impaired version of Uber,” Gagnon adds. “When you get to the airport, you summon it on your cell phone, it drives to your location in the airport and picks you up. You ask it to take you to Gate 75, and off you go.” Instead of getting pushed around, he says, “you explore the airport on your own, independently.”
Like Uber, YOU will be paying for the service, and NOT the airport.
WHILL, your personal EV. Coming soon to an airport near you!