Honda has unveiled a 'personal mobility device' called the UNI-CUB, designed for use by individuals and within public spaces – in concept, something like a Segway you can sit on.
Resembling a stylish stool, the UNI-CUB is said to have a comfortable saddle and offer the same freedom of movement in all directions that a person enjoys while walking.
To achieve that capability, Honda has developed proprietary balance control technology and what it claims to be the world’s first omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System) – inspired by robotic technologies developed for the company's famous Asimo humanoid robot.
These technologies allow the rider to control speed, move in any direction, turn and stop, all simply by shifting his or her weight. That capability allows the rider to quickly and easily maneuver among other people.
Honda says the UNI-CUB’s compact saddle-style packaging makes it easy for the rider’s legs to reach the ground while maintaining eye-level height with other pedestrians, thus promoting harmony between the rider and others.
The device is powered by a Lithium-ion battery that can be fully charged in approximately two hours.
It has a maximum speed of 6 km/h, a range of 6 km, a grade capability of 5 degrees or lower and can accommodate riders from 40-100kg and 150-190cm in height.
Honda will conduct a joint demonstration and test of the UNI-CUB in conjunction with Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation over the next nine months. Staff will perform demonstrations and use the device for making their rounds, while the museum’s annual pass holders will have the opportunity to test ride UNI-CUB.
In addition to testing the feasibility of using the UNI-CUB indoors, the project will explore the practical applications of the device in a wide range of environments within Japan and other countries.