It’s Not a Penguin, It’s a Cub: Honda’s New Personal Mobility Device

Honda will debut a new personal mobility device called UNI-CUB β at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show later this week. According to the Japanese company, the UNI-CUB β has been…designed for use in indoor spaces such as offices and commercial facilities – we can just imagine one of these in the White House or a Burger King.

It is a follow-up to the UNI-CUB revealed in May 2012, which featured balance control technology and an omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System). Both technologies originate from Honda’s humanoid robot ASIMO and allow the rider to move UNI-CUB forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally simply by shifting their body weight and leaning towards the intended direction.

Honda developed the UNI-CUB β after analysis of the data and user feedback from this testing program. As a result, the new device is smaller, lighter and features a lower seating position.

Weighing 25 kg (55.1 lbs), the UNI-CUB β is 510mm (20in) long, 315mm (12.4in) wide and 620mm (24.4in) tall. It features a lithium-ion battery that allows it to reach a maximum speed of 6 km/h (3.7 mph) and has a traveling range of 6 km (3.7 miles) – or approximately 1.5 hours at the speed of 4 km/h (2.5 mph).

Honda says the model is easier to get on and off than before and has been improved through the addition of a stand function. Furthermore, the stand enables the device to be used as a stool when it is not in motion – that I can see in my office.

The company says it will verify the business feasibility of the new model by offering it to other businesses and organisations in Japan through a fee-based leasing program. You can see the UNI-CUB demonstrated in the following video.

By Dan Mihalascu


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