Honda UNI-CUB vs. Toyota Winglet: the battle of human transporters at CEATEC (video)
For the primary time, this yr’s CEATEC in Tokyo devoted one massive corridor to demo some electrical automobiles, which embrace Nissan’s autonomous Leaf and a few human transporters: Honda’s UNI-CUB and Toyota’s Winglet. Whereas neither mobilizer is completely new, we simply could not move up this chance to provide them a check drive, particularly when they’re nonetheless not but road authorized — not even in Japan. The excellent news is we survived to inform the story, so do learn on to seek out out what it feels wish to burn these tiny wheels at 6km/h.
Let’s begin with the Honda UNI-CUB. In contrast to the Segway-like transporters, this cute machine lets the consumer sit down and management it by leaning in the direction of the specified touring course. Like its predecessor, the U3-X, the UNI-CUB may also journey sideways courtesy of its omni-directional driving wheel system, however when this writer tried to make this transfer, typically it does a flip as an alternative. Aside from that minor drawback, we discovered Honda’s answer to be very simple and probably safer as a result of our decrease middle of gravity. Even once we stayed stationary, the UNI-CUB felt fairly secure as soon as we obtained used to the balancing posture, so we had no drawback with getting on and off it, both. In case the passenger is not capable of information the machine by him or herself, you possibly can management it remotely utilizing a smartphone. The unhappy information is Honda at present has no plan to convey this to the market, so that is nonetheless an idea for now.
Subsequent up we’ve the Toyota Winglet, which seems extra like a Segway however with some vital mechanical variations. For one, the previous’s mixture of a steering stick and smaller wheels present sharp turns, and you may even spin on the spot only for kicks. However in comparison with the UNI-CUB, we took far more time to grasp the controlling methods on the Winglet, primarily as a result of the car is extra delicate to our posture as we now have to face on it. On the flip aspect, as soon as we acquired used to it, we favored how we would have liked much less effort to lean in the direction of our desired path, compared to the UNI-CUB.
It was additionally barely awkward when hopping on and off the Winglet: the previous is completed by putting your foot on the appropriate aspect of the platform, which consequently prompts — or not, as we skilled in some instances — the balancing mechanism; whereas getting off it requires pushing a particular button that leans you backwards to drop you off — a barely frightful expertise in our first few goes. With Toyota beginning to trial the Winglet in buying malls and maybe practice stations, we’re assured that the corporate will be capable of high quality tune the expertise based mostly on public suggestions.
Ross Wang kindly offered digital camera help for this text.