Honda has developed a new personal mobility technology and unveiled U3-X, a compact experimental device that provides free movement in all directions just like human walking – forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally.
This new personal mobility device makes it possible to adjust speed, move, turn and stop in all directions when the rider leans their upper body to shift their body weight.
This was achieved through application of advanced technologies including Honda’s balance control technology, which was developed through ASIMO (Honda’s bipedal humanoid robot) robotics research, and the world’s first omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System, or HOT Drive System), which enables movement in all directions, not only forward and backward, but also directly to the right and left and diagonally.
In addition, the compact, one-wheel-drive personal mobility device was designed to make it easy for the rider to reach the ground from the footrest and by seating the rider at roughly the same eye level as a person standing.
The device is controlled by application of balance control technology refined through ASIMO research. The incline sensor detects the tilt of the device created by the weight shift of the rider and subsequently determines the rider’s intention in terms of direction and speed.
Based on the data, precise control is applied to return the device to an upright position, which allows for smooth and agile movements and simple operation.
Honda will continue research and development of the device including experiments in the real-world environment to verify its practicality.
Honda is planning to showcase the U3-X at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show 2009 which will begin on 24th October 2009 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan.
Honda has been conducting robotics research since 1986 at the Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Fundamental Technology Research Center in Wako, Saitama, Japan, striving to develop the next-generation mobility products.
These research projects includes ASIMO, walking assist devices and U3-X.
HOT Drive System (Omni-directional driving wheel system)
Honda has developed the world’s first wheel structure which enables movement in all directions including forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally.
Multiple small-diameter motor-controlled wheels are connected in-line to form one large-diameter wheel.
By moving the large-diameter wheel, the device moves forward and backward, and by moving small-diameter wheels, the device moves side-to-side.
By combining these movements the device can also move diagonally.
The combination of the balance control technology and the HOT Drive System enabled the one-wheel style compact and innovative package of the device.
In addition, the monocoque body houses the folding seat, foot rests and body cover, which also acts as the frame, making the device light weight and portable.
Key specifications of the experimental model
less than 10kg
Lithium ion battery
Operation time (with fully charged battery)
Honda U3-X – Presentation Video