The Honda U3-X, the automaker's new personal mobility device, is a boom box-looking one-person unicycle-like scooter for office use, home mobility and travel on sidewalks without interfering with walkers, as seen in the awkward video and gallery below.
This is less a replacement for a walker, as with Honda's Walking Assistance Device, and more a Segway-style personal passenger vehicle. It uses an electric motor designed to provide free movement in all direction, stop, and adjust speed on the fly using shifting body weight. The trick is the Honda Omni Traction Drive System or the "HOT Drive System" and HOT! it is.
Honda has developed a new personal mobility technology, U3-X. It is a compact experimental device that fits comfortably between the rider's legs, to provide free movement in all directions just as in human walking – forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally. Honda will continue research and development of the device including experiments in a real-world environment to verify the practicality of the device.
This new personal mobility device makes it possible to adjust speed and move, turn and stop in all directions when the rider leans the upper body to shift body weight. This was achieved through application of advanced technologies including Honda's balance control technology, which was developed through the robotics research of ASIMO, Honda's bipedal humanoid robot, 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, including not only forward and backward, but also directly to the right and left and diagonally. In addition, this compact size and one-wheel-drive personal mobility device was designed to be friendly to the user and people around it by making it easier for the rider to reach the ground from the footrest and placing the rider on roughly the same eye level as other people or pedestrians.