Whill has reinvented the personal mobility device with an automated wheelchair that can operate on its own and assist people to get where they need to go.
The best example of this is already being seen in some airports in Japan where the Whill Model C2, which we saw at CES Unveiled on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show, was able to take people in need of assistance to their gate on its own.
Usually if someone needs assistance at an airport, a person turns up with a regular wheelchair and pushes them to the gate and returns with the wheelchair to help the next person.
With the Whill chair, a small screen allows users to choose their destination. In the case of an airport that would be the gate and the chair sets off on its own with the passenger onboard.
We took a ride on the Whill chair and found it has obstacle sensors so it would slow down or stop if someone walked in front of it.
The chair itself can handle passengers weighing up to 136kg and can travel at up to 8km an hour – that’s a brisk walking pace.
There are models for indoor and outdoor use and models that can be manually controlled.
The best applications indoors would be for them to be used in airports and shopping centres.
The outdoor models have larger tyres and four-wheel independent suspension and can handle obstacles up to 5cm high.
They have a range of up to 18km before they need a recharge.
The Whill Model C2 can also fold down and fit inside a car’s trunk.
* Stephen Fenech to Las Vegas with support from Samsung, LG, Hisense and ASUS.