Called a “personal mobility device,” the UNI-CUB looks like a unicycle sans the cycle or wheel part. So how does it work?
Sit in the saddle and Honda’s Omni Traction Drive System lets you control the speed and direction by shifting your weight. Yep, no hands.
Honda touts the UNI-CUB as omnidirectional, meaning the two wheels allow it to move in all directions — side-to-side, backwards, diagonally, etc. Honda will also have a smartphone app that will function as additional control option.
While the Segway, a similar electric powered scooter released in 2002, was designed for outdoor use and is frequently used by police or security guards, the UNI-CUB has been designed for indoor use. Honda claims the precision of its motion is good for “barrier-free indoor environments.”
This isn’t the first time an automaker has tried to take on the popular Segway. In 2008, Toyota announced its own personal mobile solution, called the Winglet. The Winglet was tested but never marketed to consumers.
And that might be the way the way the UNI-CUB goes. Honda says it will start demonstrating and testing the UNI-CUB with Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in June. No additional information has been given on if and when it might be released to the public.