Honda’s latest attempt at a personal mobility device has just hit the internet. Called the UNI-CUB this so-called vehicle is a development of the Honda U3-X – itself highly unusual. But at least it didn’t look like a motorized chemical toilet.
Unlike the Segway that’s mainly used for outdoors, the much smaller UNI-CUB is a one-person scooter for indoor spaces. Honda first announced the personal transpo system back in 2009 as U3-X, and the UNI-CUB that you can see in the video below is the latest update to its design.
The lithium-ion battery-powered machine has a compact design with a seat fashioned like a saddle. Honda claims it’s easy enough to balance, but we bet the injured, the sickly, and the elderly who have the most use for something like this would have a hard time getting used to riding it.
Improvements over the U3-X include a saddle-style seating position that puts the rider at eye level with other pedestrians. Honda claims this “promotes harmony between the rider and others, letting the rider travel freely and comfortably inside facilities and among moving people.”
The UNI-CUB can move in any direction you choose, no matter where you’re facing. To control it, you only need to shift your weight toward one direction or use its smartphone app. While it’s not yet ready for release, Honda will be testing the UNI-CUB in June at Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
Despite those advances, the UNI-CUB has some of the same limitations as its predecessor: It can only travel at about 3.5 mph and its battery only lasts about an hour. Most importantly, it doesn’t have a backrest or the required stability to replace a wheelchair or other medically required mobility aid, so it’s essentially a very convoluted way for able-bodied people to get around no faster than they could walk.