Autonomous mobility transport vehicles trialled at JFK Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport has hosted a trial of state-of-the-art, fully autonomous mobility vehicles, which work to help passengers with reduced mobility (PRMs) navigate the airport terminal freely and independently. The vehicles are a feature of the latest investments into innovation, customer service and accessibility.
The autonomous vehicles – owned and operated by British Airways – were exclusively trialled by the airline’s customers at JFK Airport. Equipped with anti-collision technology, the vehicles allow passengers to set their preferred destination anywhere within the airport and safely navigates the terminal without the need for additional assistance.
By providing passengers with the ability to move throughout the airport independently, those who are unable to walk long distances but may not have their own wheelchair are given the freedom to explore without being forced to rely on airport employees.
Approximately half a million passengers who require additional assistance fly with British Airways every year, with this number expected to rise by 10 per cent by 2021. With the introduction of the new mobility vehicles at JFK Airport, the airline has become the first to trial fully autonomous, electric mobility devices in North America.
British Airways’ Head of Innovation, Ricardo Vidal, said: “Our customers tell us they would like greater independence and control over their journey through the airport, so we were keen to trial autonomous devices and see our customers’ response to the very latest mobility technology in a real airport environment. Over the next few months, we will be collaborating on a further trial at our busy home hub at Heathrow Terminal 5 to gather more feedback and explore the introduction of this technology alongside our team of customer service professionals to provide a truly seamless and accessible airport experience. I’m excited about the future of inclusive innovation to support the accelerating demand for accessible air travel.”