The Honda U3-X, a unique personal mobility concept device that was first shown at the Tokyo Motorshow in 2009, will make its debut in Europe later this month. Often described as the ‘Segway of unicycles,’ the U3-X will be shown at an exhibition titled ‘Getting Around,’ which will be open between April-August this year, at the Museum of Architecture and Heritage (Cite De L’Architecture et du Patrimione), in Paris.
The Honda U3-X is a self-balancing one-wheeled electric vehicle inspired by robotic technologies developed for ASIMO – Honda’s humanoid robot – and represents a new form of mobility. Inspired by ASIMO's ability to find its own balance point, the U3-X can stand upright by controlling its centre of gravity. A mono-wheel traction structure – Honda’s Omni Traction (HOT) Drive System – enables the U3-X to move freely and smoothly in all directions. Its regular large wheel is actually made up of several small wheels in a series, which can rotate independently, meaning that the U3-X can go forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally, all being controlled with a simple lean of the rider’s upper body.
Weighing under 10 kilos and with a seat and footrests that fold into the device for extra portability, the U3-X was designed by Honda to aid mobility and be used completely intuitively by people in settings such as in museums, airports or shopping centres. Honda have not confirmed yet whether the U3-X will be offered for sale to consumers – for now, this experimental mobility device only provides an interesting insight into Honda’s technological capabilities.