TOKYO: Honda Motor Co. unveiled Tuesday a new electric personal mobility device that allows a rider to control speed and direction by shifting weight in a sitting position.
The saddle-style UNI-CUB prototype, with a front wheel and a small assisting wheel, is aimed at assisting people who have difficulty in walking with getting around in large facilities such as airports and libraries, it said.
The automaker will start testing the device at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo’s Koto Ward from June to explore its practical applications and plans to eventually allow visitors to take rides there.
The UNI-CUB, loaded with a lithium-ion battery, is 74.5 centimeters in height and 34.5 cm in width and can travel 6 kilometers at a maximum speed of 6 km per hour.
While no hands are required in maneuvering the device, users who have trouble shifting their body weight can maneuver it by using smartphones, according to the company.
Mamoru Mohri, a former astronaut who now heads the museum, took a test ride and said, “You can move as you wish…It could come in handy in many situations such as in an aging society.”
The device adopts technologies originating from Honda’s research into humanoid robots, including the Asimo, the company said.