Smart chairs ferry the leg-hurt across lengthy lines

For once, Tesla isn’t the star of the show.

Among all this talk about the next generation of autonomous automobiles, another startling innovation has yet to be given the fanfare it truly deserves. Inspired by the Intelligent Parking Chair from earlier this year, the ProPILOT Chair by Nissan is for those sick of having to actually stand up every time they want to order a bite to eat at their favorite sushi restaurant. If you’re not completely on board with the idea of a computer controlling a metallic cage hurtling through the highway at 60 miles an hour that you just so happen to find yourself in, then this chair’s the next best thing.

The ProPILOT Chair harnesses the semi-autonomous capabilities of the company’s recently-redesigned Serena minivan in order to travel along a pre-determined path, starting and stopping as necessary when it detects other chairs and—we hope—other people. Soon-to-be-happy campers rest their sore bottoms on one of these scintillating seats (something tells me you stopped on “scintillating” to consult your dictionary), and let them do the heavy lifting.

As soon as the person in the front of the line concludes their business, the ProPILOT Chair will automagically travel back to the back of the line, awaiting its next customer. Given a whole horde of chairs strategically positioned within a locale’s busy lanes, the pain of having to wait for hours in a line is slightly mitigated by the fact that you won’t have to unwittingly exercise while doing so. Because who needs exercise, right? And it’s all made possible by a system of weight sensors and cameras.

There’s also been some talk about extending the chair’s reach beyond your traditional eateries, such as in museums; for now, though, it’s not going past Japan. So sorry boba addicts, these chairs probably won’t be headed your way for some time. For venues lucky enough to find themselves within the country, Nissan is taking preorders from various restaurants until December 27 of this year. The company will then work through a process of (possibly) extreme vetting in order to determine the worthiest restaurants to put these chairs in in the following year.

No word from Nissan yet about how they plan to deal with the issue of butthurt. We’ll update you in case anything changes.

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