Honda UNI-CUB

May 16, 2012
Author: Evgeniy Sherstobitov
Photos: Honda
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Honda unveiled the new UNI-CUB, a personal mobility device designed for use by individuals and within public spaces.

Representing an evolution of the U3-X personal mobility concept device that Honda announced in 2009, the UNI-CUB features a compact design with comfortable saddle and offers the same freedom of movement in all directions that a person enjoys while walking. This is achievable by Honda’s development of proprietary balance control technology and the world’s first omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System) – inspired by robotic technologies developed for Asimo, Honda’s world-famous humanoid robot.

These technologies allow the rider to control speed, move in any direction, turn and stop, all simply by shifting his or her weight. Since the rider can freely move forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally, he or she can quickly and easily manoeuvre among other people.


Moreover, UNI-CUB’s compact saddle-style packaging makes it easy for the rider’s legs to reach the ground while maintaining eye-level height with other pedestrians. This configuration promotes harmony between the rider and others, letting the rider travel freely and comfortably inside facilities and among moving people.

From June 2012 until March 2013, Honda will jointly conduct demonstration testing of UNI-CUB with Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Staff will perform demonstrations and use the device for making their rounds, while the museum’s annual pass holders will have the opportunity to test ride UNI-CUB. In addition to testing the feasibility of using UNI-CUB indoors, this project will explore the practical applications of the device in a wide range of environments within Japan and other countries.

Going forward, Honda will continue its proactive research and development of next-generation mobility technologies, with the aim of continually looking for innovative yet practical ways to offer society and individuals the joy, fun and convenience that comes from the freedom of movement.

Key features of UNI-CUB

1.    Omni-directional freedom of movement similar to human walking. UNI-CUB has a two-wheel configuration with a minimal wheelbase. The front wheel features the Honda Omni Traction Drive System that Honda first announced in 2009. The rear wheel moves laterally to facilitate turning. By leveraging the different rotational speeds of the front and rear wheel treads during lateral movements, UNI-CUB can move forwards and backwards, side-to-side and diagonally and also turn in place, making possible quick, nimble movement.

2. Movement in harmony with other people. Honda’s proprietary balance control technology makes it possible for the rider to freely control the wheels of the UNI-CUB, much as human beings maintain their balance. With a design that takes into consideration the rider’s environment, this system allows the rider to manoeuvre while moving side by side with or holding hands with another person.

3. Compact size for moving and climbing gradients in barrier-free indoor environments. Thanks to UNI-CUB’s compact saddle-style packaging, the rider and vehicle together are about the same width as a person when walking. Optimized wheel design and high-precision drive/balance control enhance UNI-CUB’s ability to climb gradients in barrier-free indoor environments.

4. Weight shift control combined with touch panel control. When the rider is using weight shift control, UNI-CUB’s incline sensor detects the direction in which the rider is leaning, allowing UNI-CUB to calculate the direction and speed intended by the rider. And touch panel control via smartphone and other devices is another convenient control option.


Key specifications of UNI-CUB
Size (L x W x H)     520 x 345 x 745 mm
Seat height     745 – 825 mm
Battery type     Lithium-ion battery (approx 2 hours to charge from zero voltage at A?C 100-240V)
Maximum speed     6 km/h
Range     6 km
Application environment     Barrier-free indoor environments (with gradients of 5 degrees or lower)
Rider weight     Between 40-100kg in weight and 150-190cm in height
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