From the outside, the ProPilot Park Ryokan in Hakone, Japan, is simply another traditional Japanese inn (ryokan in Japanese). That simple exterior hides a significant secret, however: The slippers and furniture can move themselves.
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There isn't a poltergeist in the inn, nor is this a Japanese take on "Beauty and the Beast." Instead, Nissan has equipped slippers, tables and cushions with its new ProPilot Park technology, allowing the items to park themselves at the push of a button.
The goal is to show off the same technology that debuted in Japan in the all-new Leaf electric vehicle. When the driver of the Leaf locates a suitable parking spot, pressing the ProPilot Park button allows the Leaf to automatically park itself.
Instead of cars inside the inn, guests can park the slippers they wear indoors after removing their shoes, as well as the tables and seating cushions in their rooms. Not only does this lead to lots of free publicity from guests recording and posting their bewilderment on social media, it has the added benefit of reducing the workload for the staff.
Check out the video of the slippers and furniture in action — a phrase I never thought I would write — below. And check out editor Fred Meier's review of a related Nissan technology in an automotive application, the ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving feature, here.
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