Like many manufacturers today, Nissan likes to equip its cars with all sorts of gadgets. They’re there to make your life easier.
Take parking, for example. It’s a core driving skill — you do have to stop your car at the end of every journey after all — but it can be a pain. Car manufacturers introduced parking sensors and reversing cameras to help you. Then along came self-parking systems and, new on the second-generation Nissan Leaf, ProPilot autonomous parking.
This system allows you to pull into a car park, select a space on your screen and then let the car take control of everything. So long as you hold down the park button, the car’s systems do it for you.
To demonstrate it, Nissan has taken over a hotel in Hakone, Japan. Not to park your car for you, but to park your slippers.
The hotel is a traditional Japanese ryokan, complete with tatami mat floors, low tables and floor cushions. Guests are treated to a neat line of slippers as they enter, but they have a mind of their own. To save the staff the effort of straightening it all out, the slippers simply return to their designated spot when not in use.
In fact it’s not just the slippers (or “uwabaki”, for you Tokyo Drift fans). The ProPilot Park Ryokan equips the tables, cushions and even television remote controls with the park assist system. Despite the best efforts of messy guests, everything lines itself back up neatly, at the touch of a button:
If you want to experience the self-driving cushions for yourself, Nissan is offering a free night at the ryokan for Twitter users. You can also visit the Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery in Yokohama, where the tech is on display.
Although we’re not totally comfortable with the idea of using slippers equipped with wheels…