Remember the Honda U3-X? Unveiled in 2009, the U3-X was Honda‘s personal mobility device concept, essentially a self-balancing electronic unicycle that can move in any direction by simply leaning. Honda has created an updated version it calls the UNI-CUB.
The UNI-CUB uses the same “Honda Omni Traction Drive System” (or “HOT Drive System”) introduced on the U3-X, using a large ring as its main wheel with several much smaller wheels along its rim. The UNI-CUB adds a second, smaller wheel, mounted perpendicular to the main wheel. This second wheel adds stability while also aiding with turning, either around corners or even on the spot.
Honda also added a new saddle which looks much more comfortable than the fold-away seat found on the U3-X. The saddle is height-adjustable from 29.3 inches to 32.5 inches, placing the rider’s eyes at the same level as other pedestrians while making it easy for the rider’s legs to comfortably reach the ground when needed.
The rider can control the UNI-CUB’s speed by shifting his or her weight forwards and back, and turn by shifting weight sideways. The UNI-CUB can also be controlled by touchscreen control devices such as smartphones and tablets.
The UNI-CUB maintains its balance using technology derived from Honda’s work in robotics, including its ASIMO walking robot. That same balancing control system has also found its way into the inclinometer on the Honda RC212V, used to measure the MotoGP race bike’s balance (see, there is something motorcycle-related in the UNI-CUB). It’s probably also not a coincidence the UNI-CUB shares the name of the iconic Honda Super Cub motorcycle, the world’s most-produced vehicle.
The Honda UNI-CUB is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which helps propel the mobility device to a maximum speed of 6 kph (3.7 mph), just a bit faster than the average person’s walking speed (about 3.1 mph). Honda claims a range of 6 km (3.7 miles).
Honda will conduct demonstration tests of the UNI-CUB with Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in June. Testing will focus on indoor environments as well as other environments.
Honda Personal Mobility Concept U3-X – video