Honda Combines Personal Mobility and VR in World's First Extended Reality Mobility Experience

Honda Combines Personal Mobility and VR in World’s First Extended Reality Mobility Experience

Fasten your seatbelt, Honda will hold the global debut of a first-of-its-kind extended reality1 (XR) experience at SXSW 2024, merging the joy of mobility with virtual reality (VR) adventures. The all-new Honda XR Mobility Experience integrates digital environments with the real-world experience of riding the Honda UNI-ONE, a hands-free, personal mobility device. 

SXSW attendees will be able to immerse themselves in the all-new Honda XR Mobility Experience at the company’s booth #729 located in the SXSW Creative Industries Expo at the Austin Convention Center, March 10-13, 2024.

“With the Honda XR Mobility Experience, we are expanding the joy and freedom of personal mobility into entertainment applications,” said Hirokazu Hara, vice president of New Business Development, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “By combining the unique, physical experience of riding the Honda UNI-ONE with highly immersive digital entertainment, Honda is creating a brand new multimodal experience that takes extended reality technologies to the next level.”

Making Mobility More Fun with UNI-ONE

SXSW 2024 marks the U.S. debut of the Honda UNI-ONE, a hands-free, personal mobility device that features advanced self-balancing technology and sensors that enable the user to move in any direction based on postural movements.

UNI-ONE features a seat that can be raised and lowered, making mobility more fun when interacting with people at the same eye level. In the “high position,” the user is closer to the eye level of someone standing and can move in all directions – forward, backward, sideways or diagonally – as well as turn around with both hands free, simply by leaning in one direction to shift their weight. In the “low position,” the user can better communicate with those who are seated or small children and can move in any direction by steering with a joystick.

The electric UNI-ONE is equipped with Honda’s original wheel mechanism, the Honda Omni Traction Drive System (HOT Drive System), an evolution and advancement of the Honda UNI-CUB β device – first introduced in 2013. UNI-ONE has two units of the HOT Drive System – one on each side – enabling the user to move smoothly in any direction. Based on a user’s posture, UNI-ONE can estimate the user’s intentions, such as a desire to stay in place or move in a specific direction and speed. The stabilization function controls UNI-ONE’s wheels so it does not lean too far and applies feedback to achieve natural behavior that is neither too fast nor too slow.

Beginning in 2023, Honda has been demonstration testing UNI-ONE for multiple use cases in Japan, including at the Mobility Resort Motegi in Motegi, Tochigi; Suzuka Circuit Park in Suzuka, Mie; and the Gotemba Premium Outlets in Gotemba, Shizuoka. For the demonstration testing at Suzuka Circuit Park, Honda integrated UNI-ONE with AR technology to create a game. Users play by holding a tablet and navigating UNI-ONE according to the scenes displayed on the tablet. These demonstration trials are helping to validate UNI-ONE as a mobility device for entertainment applications.

UNI-ONE is designed to offer stress-free mobility and appeal to a wide range of users. It is battery-operated and has a maximum speed of 3.7 miles per hour. The maximum user weight capacity is 242 pounds.

New Entertainment Applications with UNI-ONE

 SXSW attendees can ride UNI-ONE and immerse themselves in their own “choose your VR adventure” at the Honda XR Mobility Experience. While wearing a VR headset and shifting their body weight to steer UNI-ONE, users can experience the peaceful feeling of floating in the sky or the exhilarating feeling of gliding along a half-pipe path.

Working toward commercialization in the U.S., Honda envisions people enjoying the XR mobility experience in indoor and outdoor obstacle-free spaces, including theme parks, entertainment facilities and retail spaces such as shopping malls. Honda also believes that UNI-ONE can be used as a mobility device in XR games, such as a racing game where players use their hands while moving freely or a game in which players follow certain routes.

Honda Combines Personal Mobility and VR in World's First Extended Reality Mobility Experience
The Honda UNI-ONE is a hands-free, personal mobility device that features advanced self-balancing technology and sensors that enable the user to move in any direction based on postural movements.

UNI-ONE Specifications

Dimensions(length x width x height)30.3 × 26.8 × 30.3 inches (lowered)25.6 × 22.8 × 36.2 inches (raised)
Seat Height21.7 inches (lowered)27.6 inches (raised)
WeightApprox. 154 pounds
Riding Capacity1 person
Maximum User Weight242 pounds
Maximum Speed3.7 miles per hour
Range5 miles (at 2.5 miles per hour)
BatteryLithium-ion battery (replaceable)
Drive WheelsHonda Omni Traction Drive System (HOT Drive) – 2 wheels*When UNI-ONE is in the low position, HOT Drive wheels and four auxiliary wheels are on the ground. 

Honda in America

Honda started operations in the United States with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. in 1959. Today, Honda employs over 30,000 associates in America engaged in the development, manufacturing, sales and service support of Honda and Acura automobiles, Honda power equipment, Honda powersports products and the HondaJet advanced light jet.

Based on its longstanding commitment to build products close to the customer, Honda operates 12 major U.S. manufacturing facilities, working with 600 U.S. suppliers to produce a diverse range of Honda products. Honda has built automobiles in America for over 40 years, and in 2022, more than two-thirds of all U.S.-sold Honda and Acura automobiles were produced in America, using domestic and globally sourced parts.

Honda also conducts research and development activities at 23 facilities in America where we fully design, develop and engineer many of the products the company manufactures in America.

Learn more with Honda’s Digital FactBook

1 XR stands for “extended reality,” an umbrella term for technologies such as VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) that fuse the real world with the virtual world to enable the perception of things that do not exist in reality.