Honda develops new electric personal mobility technology

UNI-ONE is a hands-free personal mobility device that expands potential. Credit | Honda
While the Uni-One is useful for people with a disability, the new electric technology will be used by everyone in the future, says Macoto Hasegawa, Honda

Founded in 1948, Japanese company Honda has been a leading automotive manufacturer for 75 years.

Honda has developed its innovative, and somewhat whacky, UNI-ONE, a hands-free seated personal mobility device.

The electric aid, designed to support both able-bodied people and those with mobility issues, is controlled by the user simply by shifting body weight while sitting. This keeps both the user’s hands free to move naturally in all directions as if they were walking, thus broadening the potential of mobility beyond walking and expanding the possible uses of a conventional wheelchair.


New electric technology in the mobility space

The goal of Honda Robotics is to help people in their daily lives, and one of the key concepts of Honda Robotics is the expansion of the physical functions for people. Based on this concept, the company has developed the UNI-ONE to offer new value to customers by enabling them to enjoy mobility without being constrained by their physical capabilities and/or skills.


The UNI-ONE features:

  • Height — the user has an eye-level close to that of standing people.
  • Hands-free — the user can use their hands freely while riding the UNI-ONE, with movement controlled by upper body movements. 
  • Stability — high riding stability from two drive wheels and anti-tipping measures.
  • Stress-free design — designed for stress-free mobility use not only by people with disabilities and the elderly but those who are not physically impaired. 
  • Walking-pace — Speeds of around 4 km/hour and a battery that will cover distances up to 8 km.
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“You don’t drive it, you walk it,” says Macoto Hasegawa, Honda’s Chief Frontier Robotics Engineer. Spurred by his passion to imagine the user experience of products that do not exist in the market yet, Hasegawa has been with Honda for nearly 30 years, mostly in the robotics department.

“It’s designed to be used in airports, shopping malls or on university campuses where getting around large areas is tiring. While it is useful for people with a disability, we think the Uni-One will be used by everyone in the future. These will be hired by people at large public locations all over the world. We have trialled them with security staff at a large mall who used the Uni-One to get around during their shifts. It was very popular with them.”

 

Scheduled to go on sale in 2025, no price is currently set for the electric mobility aid. 

 

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