A Unicycle that balances itself
Honda are quick to dismiss this as a mere unicycle. According to them it is a “experimental personal mobility service”. The rider sits on it, and steers by leaning their upper body in the direction they wish to travel. What appears to be a large wheel, consists of several smaller wheels which are in line. The small wheels control side-to-side movements, while the large wheel controls forward and back motions. A combination of both allows the device to move diagonally. Some of the technology comes from the development of Asimo – the first robot capable of walking up and down stairs. I saw Asimo being demonstrated in California, and you had convince yourself there was not a small person inside the robot.
When on the unicycle, Honda state that the rider is apparently at about the same eye level as pedestrians. The seat, footrests and body cover all fold away into the device’s 10kg body. The device is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which is good for 60 minutes worth of travel – Honda claimed. There is no word, as yet, regarding plans to put it into commercial production.