Honda unveils one-wheel-drive vehicle

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Honda unveils one-wheel-drive vehicle

Asimo helps pedestrians avoid walking.

Honda has released an experimental one-wheel-drive vehicle incorporating robotics technology from its ASIMO robots that removes the need for people to walk around.

The U3-X is designed to provide free movement of the rider in all directions "just as in human walking", according to the firm.

"It is possible to adjust speed and move, turn and stop in all directions when the rider leans the upper body to shift body weight," Honda said.

This was achieved by applying technologies including balance control technology developed for the ASIMO humanoid robot and what is claimed to be the world's first omni-directional driving wheel system.

A sensor detects the incline of the device based on the weight shift of the rider and determines the rider's intention in terms of the direction and speed. Precise control is applied to return the device to an upright position, the company said.

The wheel system consists of multiple small-diameter motor-controlled wheels connected in-line to form one large-diameter wheel.

By moving the large-diameter wheel, the device moves forward and backward, and by moving the small-diameter wheels, the device moves side-to-side.

Combining these movements shifts the device diagonally, researchers said.

Honda said it would "continue research and development of the device including experiments in a real-world environment to verify the practicality of the device".

It also planned to show off the U3-X at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show in Chiba, Japan next month.

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