It was unveiled by Honda's CEO on September 24, 2009 and it was announced that it would be shown at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show. Time Magazine called it one of the 50 best inventions of 2009. In April 2010, Honda engineers did a short demonstration of two of the devices in Times Square, New York City. In May 2010, Honda representatives demonstrated the U3-X at the Honda Collection Hall in Motegi, Tochigi, Japan.
Design and operation
Honda developed the U3-X with technology originally developed for ASIMO the bipedal human robot project. Honda states that the "U" stands for unicycle and for universal. It weighs 10 kg (22 lb) and travels at 6 km/h (3.7 mph), a similar speed to the Toyota Winglet. Honda U3-X is a compact experimental 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. It uses Honda Omni-Traction (HOT) drive system to permit it to move in any lateral direction. The system uses multiple small diameter motorised wheels connected inline to form one large diameter wheel. Rotating the large diameter wheel moves the U3-X forward and backward, while rotating the small diameter wheels moves it side-to-side. Combining these movements causes the U3-X to move diagonally.
It has not been announced yet whether the vehicle will be offered for public sale.
Honda stated the U3-X key specifications as follows:
- Length 313 mm
- Width (stowed) 160 mm
- Height (stowed) 647 mm
- Weight < 10 kg (22 lbs)
- Top speed 6 km/h
- Drive system: Omni Traction Drive System
- Battery type: Lithium-ion battery
- Operation time: ≈1 hour
- "Honda unveils U3-X 'personal mobility' device". Belfast Telegraph. 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
- "The 50 Best Inventions of 2009". Time Magazine. 2009-11-12. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
- Riding Honda's U3-X Unicycle of the Future, IEEE Spectrum, 2010-04-10, accessed 2010-04-15. Additional technical information, and video from the demonstration, is at the link.
- commons:File:Honda U3-X in motion Honda Collection Hall[permanent dead link]
- "Honda's latest robotic stool is fun to ride, still impossible to buy". Engadget.
- Damon Lavrinc (2009-09-24). "Tokyo Preview: Honda unveils U3-X personal mobility device". AutoBlog. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
- "Honda Develops New Personal Mobility Device: U3-X". Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- J. Murray, Charles (May 2010). "Honda Demonstrates Personal Transportation Device". Design News. 65.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Honda U3-X.|
- Honda U3-X, from ASIMO official website
- Honda U3-X Demonstration Video
- Honda U3-X Personal Mobility Device in NY, indoor and outdoor demonstrations, April 2010.
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