Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Self-balancing

Bossa Nova Robotics has announced it will begin selling a new research platform called mOb...

Bossa Nova Robotics, a spin-off of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, has announced a new research platform called mObi. The mObi platform is based on a design by Professor Ralph Hollis, who developed a robot that balanced and moved on a ball instead of wheels, called the Ballbot. Thanks to its unique form of locomotion, mObi moves gracefully in any direction and could be put to work as a telepresence robot in the future.  Read More

Murata Manufacturing's KeePace, a walk-assist device for the elderly or disabled, stands n...

Murata Manufacturing, a Japanese electronics company, has developed a walker called KeePace that stays upright on its own. The walker uses the same sensors famously demonstrated by the company's self-balancing robots which ride bicycles and unicycles without falling over.  Read More

A group of students from the Charles W Davidson College Of Engineering at San Jose State U...

Thanks to gyros, accelerometers and sophisticated control mechanisms, remaining upright on a two-wheeled vehicle is no longer quite the balancing act it might once have been, even when at a standstill. Visions of future mobility like Honda's U3-X take such ideas in whole new directions, quite literally, by including multi-directional capabilities, and concepts such as Supple go even further still by ditching wheels altogether in favor of balls. It's this freedom of movement that inspired a group of students from the Charles W Davidson College Of Engineering at San Jose State University to begin work on the ambitious Spherical Drive System (SDS) electric motorcycle.  Read More

As car ownership grows, congestion grows and parking in city centers becomes more expensiv...

Auto China is probably the most influential automobile show in the world at present. China now produces and consumes more cars than any other nation, so its needs will heavily influence personal transport globally in coming decades. Some early trends are emerging as to what we'll see, and as congestion in China increases and parking centrally becomes prohibitively expensive, a car will increasingly only get you part of the way to your destination. Geely and BMW both showed cars with inclusive last-mile transport at Auto China, but the number of last mile Transportation Appliance options under development by auto manufacturers is growing rapidly.  Read More

Version 3 of the Self-Balancing Unicycle from Focus Designs has a faster top speed but a s...

Inner city congestion, rising parking charges, pedestrian-only zones and other measures to persuade folks to leave the car at home can seem a little at odds with the increasing pace of our busy working lives. Getting the train to work is all well and good but if the office is quite a distance from the station, then workers are faced with hopping on more public transport or taking along a portable personal vehicle like a folding bicycle, mini scooter or unicycle. If you want to avoid having to hit the showers before sitting at your desk, then motorized versions of most are now available. Regular readers will already know that we're quite fond of the electric unicycle, particularly when it's combined with self-balancing mechanisms. One of the first to be featured was the SBU from Focus Designs, the third version of which has just been released.  Read More

Focus Designs Self Balancing Unicycle

Two things are certain in this crazy world - unicycles are cool and unicycles are seriously hard to ride. Well no longer. Now anybody can clown about on a unicycle and what's more, you don't even have to pedal. Thanks to Focus Designs and several years of development the learning curve required to master the unicycle has been reduced from several weeks to an average of 20 minutes, making it a viable and incredibly cheap-to-run personal transport.  Read More

The C-1 is a proposed fully-electric and fully-enclosed self-balancing motorcycle

As any avid biker will tell you, motorcycles have a lot of advantages over cars - they use less fuel, accelerate faster, are more maneuverable, can be parked in more places, and don't incorporate the weight of extra seating for passengers who are non-existent on solo commutes. As many other people will tell you, however, motorcycles also leave their occupants open to the rain and cold, and can potentially tip over and scatter those occupants across the road. That's where Lit Motors' C-1 comes into the picture. It's a proposed fully-enclosed two-passenger electric motorbike that uses an electronically-controlled gyroscopic stabilizing system to stay upright when stopped, or even when struck from the side in an accident.  Read More

Thrustcycle has unveiled a new version of its self-balancing inline-wheeled prototype elec...

Back in August, we heard about a self-balancing prototype vehicle known as the Thrustcycle SRT. Utilizing a flywheel-based gyroscopic stabilizing system, the electric vehicle was able to remain upright on its three inline wheels, even when standing still. The flywheel also served as a kinetic energy recovery system, helping to extend the vehicle’s range by storing energy that would otherwise be lost when braking. Now, four months later, Thrustcycle Enterprises has contacted us with information about the latest version of the EV, and provided some video of it being driven around ... and getting the crap kicked out of it.  Read More

The RYNO is a one-wheeled self-balancing electric personal transportation device, designed...

When it comes to self-balancing personal transportation devices, it looks like the Solowheel, Honda U3-X, Uno and Segway could all be in for a little competition. Portland, Oregon-based RYNO Motors is currently in the process of launching its own entry in the weird-little-electric-vehicles race, which it appropriately calls the RYNO. Like Bombardier’s EMBRIO concept, it has just one wheel. If nothing else, that’ll definitely get riders noticed.  Read More

The Thrustcycle SRT is a three-wheeled vehicle that incorporates a gyro/flywheel system to...

Fans of three-wheeled cars will tell you that the vehicles come in two configurations: delta, with the single wheel in the front, and tadpole, with the single wheel in the back. Well, now there's another type. The prototype Thrustcycle SRT has all three of its wheels in a straight lateral line, and utilizes a mechanical gyroscopic stabilizing system to keep it firmly upright even when standing still. That same system also stores kinetic energy generated by braking, extending the vehicle's range.  Read More

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