Honda has announced the new UNI-CUB personal mobility device, an electric, self-balancing, weight-shift controlled vehicle which is set to compete with devices like the Segway. The major difference between the Segway and the UNI-CUB is the fact that it features a more comfortable design that allows the rider to sit down. Designed for “harmony with the people,” the UNI-CUB also offers the same freedom of movement in all directions that a person enjoys while walking.
The UNI-CUB represents the evolution of the U3-X personal mobility device that Honda announced in 2009, UNI-CUB features Honda’s proprietary balance control technology and the world’s first omnidirectional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System). These technologies allow the rider to control speed, move in any direction, turn and stop, all simply by shifting his or her weight. Since the rider can freely move forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally, he or she can quickly and easily maneuver among other people.
Although the rider sits in a seated position on the UNI-CUB, the saddle-style design allows the rider’s legs to reach the ground, but at the same time maintain an eye-level height with other pedestrians. This configuration promotes harmony between the rider and others, letting the rider travel freely and comfortably inside facilities and among moving people.
The UNI-CUB has a top speed around 3 MPH and can travel up to three miles on a single charge. To see it in action watch this video.
Honda hasn’t announced any production plans, but starting in June 2012, Honda will jointly conduct demonstration testing of UNI-CUB with Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. In addition to testing the feasibility of using UNI-CUB indoors, this project will explore the practical applications of the device in a wide range of environments in Japan and other countries.