Honda Uni-Cub tries to succeed where Segway failed

A new personal mobility device from Honda, the Uni-Cub, lets people roll around in indoor environments on a single wheel, with a footprint no wider than a pedestrian.

Honda Uni-Cub

(Credit: Honda)

Like the Segway before it, Honda's new Uni-Cub solves a problem that does not exist; it's a means for able-bodied people to rove around when they could just walk. Not to mention look a little silly while doing it.

The Uni-Cub is the latest iteration of a personal mobility technology that Honda previously showed off with the U3-X. It incorporates a pretty big gee-whiz factor, with its self-balancing and multidirectional movement. The sitter (the word driver seems less appropriate) controls the Uni-Cub by shifting his or her body weight.

The device uses two wheels; the front use what Honda calls an Omni Traction Drive system that goes forward and back and side to side. A smaller, rear wheel helps the Uni-Cub turn in place.

Its electric motor drives it up to 5.5km/h, with a range of 6km. The balancing technology seen in the Uni-Cub is also used for Honda's Asimo robot. Unlike the Segway, the Uni-Cub is only designed for indoor environments.

Honda will begin testing the Uni-Cub with Japan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in June.


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ozoneocean posted a comment   

Great for those big fatties and old frail people. Just add a backrest. These things would be way lighter and take up a lot less room than those battle-wagons they currently trundle around in.
And the comedy factor can't be ignored of course.


gregory.opera posted a comment   

And this will suffer from the same problem as the Segway - the price.

Honestly, I'd buy a Segway tomorrow - they're electric, can operate as fast as a small car, have plenty of expansion options (bags, safety and off-road equipment) and are perfect for getting around small areas (e.g. an urban center, military base or shopping center... But they're also incredibly expensive.

According to Segway's Australian Web sites, the prices START at AU$10,000 - which realistically is enough to buy a NEW car these days - tack on a few accessories and you're probably looking at $12,000-15,000 !

I could justify up to around $5,000 and if I could buy a new Segway for that price, I'd have one tomorrow, but anything more than $5,000 is simply too much to pay when one compares the Segway to the alternatives (namely a cheap car)...

Oh yeah, if I had unlimited funds and a choice between the two, I'd still choose the Segway - the "Uni-Cub" looks ridicioulous!

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