Honda Reinvents the Wheel -- Just For You
Set for its public debut at the Toyko Motor Show next month, Honda has created a new "personal mobility device" it calls the UX-3. Using proprietary balance control technology developed as part of the firm's ongoing research with its amazingly anthropomorphic ASIMO robot, the single-wheeled UX-3 permits a rider to move in any direction -- forward, back, side-to-side or diagonally -- and to adjust speed simply by using body motion. That specific bit of techno wizardry comes courtesy of the Honda Omni Traction Drive System - aka the HOT Drive System -- which Honda claims is the world's first such mechanism. Weighing less than 22 pounds and incorporating a monocoque structure with seat elements and footrests that fold away when not in use, the UX-3 is powered by a Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery and can be ridden for about an hour on a single charge. In creating the UX-3, Honda also sought to have it be as friendly to others as it was to the user. To that end, it was scaled to make stepping on/off easy and to put its rider at eye level with other pedestrians. While Honda has not given any indication of future plans to bring its equivalent of this sit-down Segway to the mass market, the automaker has confirmed it does intend to pursue "ongoing research and development in a real-world environment to verify the practicality of the device."