|the new UNI-CUB. Click to enlarge.|
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. unveiled the new battery-electric UNI-CUB personal mobility device. Featuring a compact design and comfortable saddle, UNI-CUB is designed to offer the same freedom of movement in all directions that a person enjoys while walking.
Representing the evolution of the U3-X personal mobility device that Honda announced in 2009 (earlier post), UNI-CUB features Honda‘s proprietary balance control technology and an omni-directional driving wheel system: Honda Omni Traction (HOT) 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; the system is designed to provide an omni-directional freedom of movement similar to human walking.. Since the rider can freely move forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally, he or she can quickly and easily maneuver among other people.
|Image of HOT Drive System. Click to enlarge.|
UNI-CUB has a two-wheel configuration with a minimal wheelbase. The front wheel features the Honda Omni Traction Drive System that Honda first announced in 2009. The rear wheel moves laterally to facilitate turning. By leveraging the different rotational speeds of the front and rear wheel treads during lateral movements, UNI-CUB can move forwards and backwards, side-to-side and diagonally and also turn in place, making possible quick, nimble movement.
When the rider is using weight shift control, UNI-CUB’s incline sensor detects the direction in which the rider is leaning, allowing UNI-CUB to calculate the direction and speed intended by the rider. And touch panel control via smartphone and other devices is another convenient control option.
UNI-CUB’s compact saddle-style packaging makes it easy for the rider’s legs to reach the ground and maintains 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, according to Honda.
UNI-CUB features a swappable lithium-ion battery, and has a range of 6 km (3.7 miles) with a top speed of 6 km/h.
|UNI-CUB and rider. Click to enlarge.||UX-3 and rider. Click to enlarge.|
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.
The balance control technology of UNI-CUB is part of the Honda Robotics family of technologies, which originates with Honda’s research into humanoid robots, including the world-famous ASIMO.
Going forward, Honda says it will continue its proactive research and development of next-generation mobility technologies.