Miami-Dade Mayor and American Airlines announce new autonomous wheelchairs at MIA

Pictured are Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (center at podium); Marie Onga, VP of Customer Experience, WHILL Mobility Services (far left); MIA Director and CEO Ralph Cutié (second from right); Migdoel Rosa, Envoy Air Miami Hub VP (third from right); and community advocates for travelers with disabilities.

On June 21, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and officials from American Airlines, Envoy Air, WHILL, Inc., and the Miami-Dade Aviation Department announced ten new autonomous power chairs that Envoy Air is now using to transport American Airlines passengers with limited mobility at Miami International Airport (MIA).

Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County Mayor said: “As part of our unprecedented efforts to modernize our airport and improve our customer experience, we ensure our county services are as accessible as possible for all our residents and visitors.

“Our hometown airport continues to be an award-winning industry leader in accessibility, so it brings me great joy to see MIA become the first airport in the country with these state-of-the-art self-driving wheelchairs.

“Thanks to Envoy Air and WHILL Mobility Services, travelers of all abilities have another way to access the wonder of air travel at MIA.”

This spring, MIA became the first U.S. airport to receive the autonomous chairs developed by WHILL, Inc.

Self-driving mobility devices transport customers to their desired gate after they select their destination on a touch screen, providing users with more freedom, confidence, independence, and an improved customer experience. An average of 120 American Airlines passengers per day use the chairs inside concourses D and E at MIA.

Autonomous wheelchairs join a long list of accessibility services available at MIA, including the MIAair tour program, which allows passengers with disabilities the opportunity to practice the travel experience in a safe and controlled environment; accessibility lanes in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) passport control areas; wheelchair charging stations at ten convenient locations; sunflower lanyards free of charge for travelers with hidden disabilities; multi-sensory rooms in concourses D and J, where young passengers with cognitive and developmental disabilities can find a calming place to relax during the travel experience; the Aira Airport Network, a free mobile service that allows blind or low-vision travelers to receive navigation assistance at MIA; and seven service animal relief areas with indoor and outdoor locations.