Japan, folks. As you might have gathered from your old high-school friends you still follow on Instagram, it’s a nation of clashing yet beautiful contrasts of tradition and tech.
But nothing on the #wanderlust Insta-tag can beat the old-meets-new wonder of self-driving slippers, which, at the press of a button, will ‘park’ themselves at the entrance of a traditional Japanese inn, meaning forgetful tourists have one less custom to be respectful about.
How does it work? Well, each slippy has two very small wheels, a motor and sensors to ‘drive’ around, powered by Nissan’s ProPilot Park technology. Yes, these self-driving slippers weren’t created to change mankind, but rather as a plush marketing ploy for the company’s auto-parking Nissan Leaf, the company’s latest step towards self-driving cars.
As of yet, you cannot wear the slippers while they move: heelys, for now, remain un-shook.
To see, feel and experience the slippers IRL, you’ll need to head to the ProPilot Park Ryokan in Hakone – a tourist destination known for stunning views of Mount Fuji. There is no news yet over whether that makes the slippers uncomfortable, but we’re going to give it the benefit of doubt and say they look soft.
In the video below, they move swiftly and with purpose: for now, the slippers only aim to park themselves in a neat line. Nissan have also installed the tech into the tatami room tables and floor pillows, meaning you could come downstairs late at night to see the furniture scuttling about by itself.
If you watch the below video on mute, it could easily be a trailer for the next Paranormal Activity.
Before we’re done here, a few questions remain. How much money was spent on this marketing exercise? How many meetings and months of planning went underway for the staff at Nissan to agree this was the best form of marketing for a new, semi-autonomous Nissan Leaf? When did they land on self-driving slippers, and was it one of those ‘this is so stupid, we have to do it’ sort of situations?
But really, all these questions are nullified by this article’s existence. They won: I wrote about it, and you’re reading it. You can enter a competition to win a night at the hotel, if you’d like.
Source: The Verge