Honda brings VR technology to wheels with personal mobility devices

Honda embraces mobile virtual reality Scheduled to debut at SXSW 2024, the Honda XR Mobility Experience combines a VR headset with the automaker’s Uni-One “personal mobility device.”

First launched in 2023 in Japan, the Uni-One resembles a more comfortable Segway. It is self-levelling and has two ride heights. At a lower height, placing the user at eye level with those seated, is controlled via a joystick. But raise it to a higher driving height and users can move the Uni-One in any direction or turn hands-free simply by shifting their weight The power.

comes from a drive system that the company calls the Honda Omni Traction (HOT) drive system. Two wheels provide the driving force, while the motor reads sensors on the vehicle to determine the desired direction of travel based on the user’s posture. Four non-motorized auxiliary wheels help keep the chair stable when in a low position. The 154-pound Uni-One has a maximum speed of 3.7 mph but achieves a maximum range of 5 miles at a constant speed of 2.5 mph.

Honda thinks the Uni-One could be a fun toy for use in entertainment venues. During the 2023 demonstration at Japan’s Suzuka racetrack, the automaker combined the Uni-One with augmented reality technology, allowing users to navigate through scenes displayed on the tablet. Now, the company has ditched the tablet and allowed users to go hands-free with the XR Mobility experience. According to Honda, SXSW attendees can strap on the Uni-One, a VR headset, and experience “the peaceful experience of floating in the sky or the thrill of sliding down a half-pipe.” Press Release. The experience could be fun, but it’s unclear how users will enjoy it.

Honda claims to be working on bringing the XR Mobility Experience or something similar to the US market. The automaker believes it will suit locations with spacious, uncluttered spaces, such as amusement parks or even shopping malls, where users can play racing games. in which they race around a track in Uni-Ones.

Honda has always paid special attention to forms of transportation other than cars. It started by making motorcycles and now makes everything from lawnmowers to private jets. A device like the Uni-One certainly fits that philosophy, although vehicles like Honda’s upcoming electric line will likely remain the company’s core business.

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