Honda’s mad scientists are back again for 2013 with an updated version of the UNI-CUB personal mobility device we chronicled mid-last year. At the time we weren’t that smitten with this gizmo, and now with the UNI-CUB β, the verdict really hasn’t changed that much.
To recap, the UNI-CUB was a single seat electric vehicle that one straddles rather uncomfortably to engage its omni-directional driving wheel system to go in the direction desired. Since its introduction Honda engineers, in a demonstration testing program conducted jointly with the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), have been monitoring the use of this platform by “Miraikan staffs for their transportation within the facility and also by many Miraikan visitors in a wide range of ages for touring around the museum.”
By analyzing and incorporating the data and the user feedback through this testing program, Honda said, the UNI-CUB β was born as the latest iteration of a product that might someday aim to offer “personal mobility in indoor spaces such as offices and commercial facilities.” While it isn’t exactly clear how this thing might actually be accepted if it was opened to mass market production, advancements continue with the new generation nonetheless, such as
- Made smaller and lighter
Compared to the previous model, the seating position was lowered and the weight was reduced, making the UNI-CUB β usable for a wider range of people.
- Advancement of design and materials
Under the concept of “Harmony with People” and “Harmony with Space,” Honda proposed a new design that enhances the sense of unity of the user and the device. In addition, softer materials were adopted in order to make the seat more comfortable and to lessen the impact when the device hits other people or objects.
- Improvement of usability
The ease of getting on and off the device was improved through the addition of a stand function. In addition, the stand enables the device to be used as a stool when it is not in motion.
An un-specified electric drivetrain in the UNI-CUB β draws power from a lithium-ion battery, helping the mobility product to have a maximum range of 3.73 miles operating for 1.5 hours at a speed of 2.48 miles per hour. Its top speed is 3.73 miles per hour. As for pricing and availability, should you actually find this device appealing, there was no mention that. You can, however, hop a test ride if you are at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, where it will be exhibited.