Japanese astronaut Mamoru Mori compared riding a prototype electric vehicle unveiled by Honda Motor Co. on May 15 to his experience of flying on the space shuttle.
“I felt like I was floating. That is just like how I felt in outer space,” said Mori, who serves as chief executive director at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, which will be testing the new Uni-Cub single-seater with the automaker.
Honda has been developing one-person electric vehicles since 1989, but says the new prototype breaks significant new ground. Riders can maneuver the Uni-Cub, which draws on technology developed for Honda’s bipedal robot Asimo, by simply shifting their weight toward the intended direction without putting their feet on the ground.
Alternatively, they can control the vehicle using a smartphone’s touch panel, whether they are riding it at the time or not. It will even drive itself to a destination entered by the user.
The vehicle’s maximum speed is 6 kph, and it can travel for an hour on full charge. It is best suited to indoor use on an even surface.
Honda will begin tests in June with the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
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