Trust Japan to fix what is not even broken – as it gives the world yet another novelty-ridden invention. Japanese auto-major Nissan recently developed slippers that can self-drive themselves back to their designated spots, after being taken off.
Currently deployed at Park Ryokan, a resort situated in Hakone which is about 50 miles southwest of Tokyo slated to open in March, the slippers have a system that lets them get “parked” at the push of a button. This is actually an ingenious way to market their semi-autonomous ProPilot driving technology, employed in its Nissan Leaf — the latest version of which was released late last year.
Each slipper is fitted with two tiny wheels, a motor, and sensors that manoeuver it around the wooden floor using Nissan’s ProPilot Park technology, and eventually makes its way down to the entrance once taken off. That is not the only inanimate object 'self-drive' at this hotel – their tables and floor pillows are have also been enabled with the same systems.
Nissan says this product is meant “to entertain guests and reduce staff workload,” and to raise awareness about the non-driving applications of such technologies. “The self-parking slippers are meant to raise awareness of automated driving technologies, and their potential, non-driving applications,” a Nissan spokesman told Reuters.
The company is still chipping away at the technology, and what its Leaf – which won Best of Innovation at this year's Consumer Electronics Show – can currently do is stay in its lane and maintain a safe distance from the cars around it. Nissan also aims to develop a technology that would let vehicles read the brain activity of drivers and respond by moving suitably.