Thursday, September 24, 2009

Honda U3-X, the future of personal mobility

Thursday, September 24, 2009
Honda has developed a new personal mobility technology, the U3-X. It is a compact experimental device that fits comfortably between the riders legs, to provide free movement in all directions just as in human walking forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally. Honda will continue research and development of the device including experiments in a real-world environment to verify the practicality of the device.


This new personal mobility 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. This was achieved through application of advanced technologies including Hondas balance control technology, which was developed through the robotics research of ASIMO, Hondas bipedal humanoid robot, and the worlds 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.
In addition, this compact size and one-wheel-drive personal mobility device was designed to be friendly to the user and people around it by making it easier for the rider to reach the ground from the footrest and placing the rider on roughly the same eye level as other people or pedestrians. Key features of U3-X: Free movement just as in human walking;

1. Device control featuring application of balance control technology cultivated through ASIMO research: The incline sensor detects the incline of the device based on the weight shift of the rider and determines the riders intention in terms of the direction and speed. Based on the data, precise control is applied to return the device to an upright position, which achieves smooth and agile movements and simple operation by weight shift only.

2. HOT Drive System (Omni-directional driving wheel system): Honda developed the worlds first wheel structure which enables movement in all directions including forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally. Multiple small-diameter motor-controlled wheels were 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 moves diagonally. Compact size which fit between the users legs.

3. Compact and innovative package: 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 device adopts a light-weight monocoque body in which the foldable seat, footrests and body cover that also function as the frame are stored in the body of the device, achieving highly portable convenience.

Key specifications of the experimental model:
Length×Width×Height(mm) = 315×160×650
Weight = Less than 10kg
Battery Type = Lithium ion battery
Operation time (when fully charged) = 1 hour (Based on Hondas internal research)

Now all I need now is a reliable gas mask to protect me against the pollution along EDSA and I'm all set to go to work aboard this nifty new gadget. I wonder how much would this cost when it's made available to public.
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