Corporate / Technology
First U.S. Demonstration of Honda U3-X Personal Mobility Prototype in New York
Honda today held the first U.S. demonstration of the company's U3-X personal mobility prototype, first introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show in October of last year. The three-day debut event will run through April 8 at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square. A second demonstration will be held April 13-15, at the 2010 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress in Detroit, Michigan.
With U3-X Honda rethinks the concept of personal mobility, providing the rider with freedom of movement in any direction - forward, backward, sideways and diagonally - by simply leaning slightly in the desired direction. The lightweight and compact one-wheeled device also features a foldable seat and retractable footrests. A lithium-ion battery pack provides power for up to one-hour of use and can be recharged by plugging in to a conventional household or office 120-volt power outlet.
Weighing roughly 22 pounds, U3-X uses an advanced Honda proprietary balance-control system which derives from its research into human walking dynamics for the development of the ASIMO bi-pedal humanoid robot. To realize full freedom of movement in all directions, the U3-X also employs the world's first omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System) which utilizes a series of concentrically mounted wheels - a larger, forward and backward moving inner wheel and a series of smaller sideways moving outer wheels. Diagonal motion is achieved when both forward and sideways moving wheels operate in tandem.
In addition, the compact size and one-wheel-drive design of U3-X was intended to provide user-friendly and pedestrian-friendly operation with low-mounted foot pedals that make it easy for the rider to reach the ground, and a seat height that places the rider at approximately the same eye-level as other people.
As a company that values mobility, Honda began research into robotics in 1986 and walking devices in 1999, culminating in the development of ASIMO, the world's most advanced bi-pedal humanoid robot. The cumulative study of human walking and balance control has also led to the development of numerous other experimental technologies including the U3-X personal mobility device as well as Honda's Stride Management Assist and Bodyweight Support Assist walking assist devices -- all geared toward further advancing human mobility through technological innovation.
Honda (NYSE: HMC) marked 50 years of operations in America in 2009. As a company devoted to the advancement of human mobility, Honda's innovative research and development efforts during the past decade have yielded such diverse outcomes as humanoid robotics, walking assist devices, HondaJet, fuel cell electric vehicle technology, thin film solar cells, increased rice crop yields and functional nano-materials -- in addition to the design and development of automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment products. Based on its belief in the value of technology to address the needs of society, it is Honda's mission to develop products that anticipate and satisfy the evolving needs of its customers while meeting society's demand for cleaner, safer, more efficient and sustainable means of transportation and human mobility.
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