The Winnipeg Richardson International Airport is welcoming the partnership with WHILL to bring electric mobility chairs to its floors.
Today, the Winnipeg Airport Association announced that this will be WHILL Inc.'s first permanent installation in North America of its autonomous mobility service.
"We’re excited to see our partnership with WHILL continue to grow to help meet the evolving needs of travellers," says Nick Hays, President and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority. "The addition of their innovative autonomous mobility device as a fully available service at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport is another example of our commitment to providing a more accessible and inclusive environment."
It is estimated that by 2038, one in three people will need assistance when travelling. This will put a lot of strain on airport staff to meet this demand for accommodations.
The installation of WHILL's autonomous mobility chairs reduces that strain on staff and gives wheelchair users access to freedom of movement.
With the use of a touch screen, users can choose their destination—from check-in to security to departure gates—and enjoy a safe, reliable and seamless experience.
"Accessibility is a global issue," says Kerry Renaud, CEO of WHILL North America. "WHILL products and services are uniquely designed to reduce barriers and improve the quality of life for our customers, and the partnership with Winnipeg Richardson International Airport will influence and expand mobility globally by raising the standard of reliable accessibility in public spaces."
This installation was not created on a whim, the WHILL autonomous mobility chair has been tested through several trials at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport since 2019. The results of those tests have come back positive, which then led to this announcement of a permanent installation.
Trial testing has also been done in airports in the United States—Atlanta, San Jose, and Grand Rapids. WHILL anticipates announcing more partnerships with additional airports in North America in the coming years.
For more information about WHILL, visit https://whill.inc/ca/.