Honda U3-X revealed ahead of Tokyo Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2009

Practical or not? You decide. This is Honda's U3-X, its new personal mobility technology. It's still at the experimental stage and Honda is continuing research and development of the device.

Honda will also be testing the device in the real-world to verify its practicality. Basically, it is a compact device that fits comfortably between the rider's legs, to provide free movement in all directions just as in human walking forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally.

The device makes it possible to adjust speed and move, turn and stop in all directions when the rider leans the upper body to shift body weight.

Honda achieved this by applying advanced technologies including Honda's balance control technology, which was developed through the robotics research of ASIMO, Honda's bipedal humanoid robot.

Also contributing to the technology is the world's first omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System, or HOT Drive System), which enables movement in all directions, including not only forward and backward, but also directly to the right and left and diagonally.

Not only is the personal mobility device friendly to the user, its design also had the people around it to consider. It is compact and it is a one-wheel-drive and it is designed to make it easier for the rider to reach the ground from the footrest and placing the rider on about the same eye level as other people or pedestrians

Press Release

Honda Develops Revolutionary New Personal Mobility Device to Work in Harmony with People

World's first driving system capable of 360 degree movement

Pursuing the concept of "harmony with people" Honda has developed a new personal mobility technology and unveiled U3-X, a compact experimental device to provide free movement in all directions just like human walking - forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally. Honda will continue research and development of the device including experiments in the real-world environment to verify the practicality of the device.

This new personal mobility device makes it possible to adjust speed, move, turn and stop in all directions when the rider leans their upper body to shift their body weight. This was achieved through application of advanced technologies including Honda's balance control technology, which was developed through ASIMO (Honda's bipedal humanoid robot) robotics research, and the world's first* omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System, or HOT Drive System), which enables movement in all directions, not only forward and backward, but also directly to the right and left and diagonally. In addition, the compact, one-wheel-drive personal mobility device was designed to be user friendly and unimposing to people around it. This is achieved by making it easy for the rider to reach the ground from the footrest and by seating the rider at roughly the same eye level as a person standing.

Honda is planning to showcase the U3-X at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show 2009 (sponsored by JAMA) which will begin on 24th October 2009 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan.

Honda has been conducting robotics research since 1986 at the Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Fundamental Technology Research Center in Wako, Saitama, Japan, striving to develop the next-generation mobility products that bring joy to our customers. These research projects includes ASIMO, walking assist devices and U3-X.

* Based on Honda's internal research

Key features of U3-X

Free movement just like human walking

1. The device is controlled by application of balance control technology refined through ASIMO research. The incline sensor detects the tilt of the device created by the weight shift of the rider and subsequently determines the rider's intention in terms of direction and speed. Based on the data, precise control is applied to return the device to an upright position, which allows for smooth and agile movements and simple operation.

2. HOT Drive System (Omni-directional driving wheel system):Honda has developed the world's first wheel structure which enables movement in all directions including forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally. Multiple small-diameter motor-controlled wheels are connected in-line to form one large-diameter wheel. By moving the large-diameter wheel, the device moves forward and backward, and by moving small-diameter wheels, the device moves side-to-side. By combining these movements the device can also move diagonally.

Compact and innovative package

3. Slim enough to ride between legs and carry with one arm : The combination of the balance control technology and the HOT Drive System enabled the one-wheel style compact and innovative package of the device. In addition, the monocoque body houses the folding seat, foot rests and body cover, which also acts as the frame, making the device light weight and portable.

Key specifications of the experimental model:

Length×Width×Height(mm) :315×160×650

Weight: less than 10kg

Battery Type: Lithium ion battery

Operation time (with fully charged battery): 1 hour

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