First introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, the U3-X uses Honda's proprietary balance-control system and is controlled simply by shifting your body weight in the intended direction of travel.The U3-X concept follows a similar theme to the GM Segway or Toyota i-REAL, but is far more compact in size weighing in at just 9.97 kilograms.The one-wheeled U3-X features retractable footrests and a foldable seat and is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that allows up to one hour of continuous operation. The U3-X is recharged via any regular domestic power outlet.
Movement is achieved in all directions via the use of a world-first omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System), as Honda's explains:
"The system utilises a series of concentrically mounted wheels - a larger, forward and backward moving inner wheel and a series of smaller sideways moving outer wheels,"Diagonal motion is achieved when both forward and sideways moving wheels operate in tandem."
Honda says the U3-X's compact size and one-wheel drive system will provide more user-friendly personal mobility in built-up areas when compared to its direct rivals. The U3-X is designed so its rider is close enough to reach the ground, but still at a similar eye-level to walking people.
The U3-X comes from a long lineage of robotic products with Honda's research dating back as far as 1986. Honda's first walking robot was introduced in 1999 when ASIMO (pictured below), the world's most advanced bi-pedal humanoid robot was unveiled.
Honda hopes devices such as the U3-X concept as well as Honda's Stride Management Assist and Bodyweight Support Assist walking assist devices will further advance human mobility through technological innovation.