Posted November. 28, 2015 08:54,
Would humans ever want to walk when they can have a platform to roll over the road? One-man means of transportation, including bicycles, skate boards, etc., are increasingly being upgraded by combining with information and communications technologies. Not only carmakers including Renault, Honda, Toyota and GM, but also car components makers such as Bosch and are rushing to release personal transportation mobility devices.
Products whose success is currently being tested on the global stage include Segway and Ninebot, which are already well known, as well as new forms of post modern skate boards, Walk Car, which is a laptop-shaped personal vehicle where a user steps on to move, and Walk Wing, a new concept roller skate where four wheels are attached on a shoe.
All these devices have level maintenance function to prevent a tumble over, and direction can be easily changed by shifting the body weight on the device. Instead of two hands manipulating the steering wheel, the body is used directly. Helped by a gyroscope sensor and others, which detect user`s movements thus setting the body`s angle and the device`s navigating direction, people can feel as if a part of their body is being expanded.
Certain critics view personal transportation devices belong to the realm of early adopters and kidults, but they still admit that they have innovative designs and functions and are an environment-friendly transportation means. These devices can go wherever people go and are don`t require parking space. They are easy to handle, simple and environment-friendly since they use electricity.
The personal transportation device market is forecast to grow to 25 million users and some 200 models by 2020. Then what devices are available now that people can chose from? With the shape and performance becoming more diverse, users can now select according to their lifestyles and traffic.
Among new concept motor scooters, Ninebot E+ is most widely known. It has two giant tires that can drive through land regardless of topographical features. It can move undeterred on both asphalt and grass. Ninebot E+ boasts of the most luxurious and diverse functions among one-man transportation vehicles, but is expensive at around 4.6 million won (3,979 U.S. dollars).
Ninebot Mini Pro, released early this month, is smaller, weighs less and cheaper. Ninebot has explained that the new device is a product that will lead mass popularization of personal transportation devices, along with attractive design and highly performative. It is around 990,000 won (856 dollars) and weighs 12.8 kilograms. A four-hour battery charging enables the device to drive up to 30-35 kilometers. Maximum speed is 18-20 kilometers per second.
Ninebot One series, which are single-foot devices, require some time to adapt, but are smaller, boast of refined design and are future-oriented. Though maintaining balance demands time, it is fun and thus used in extreme sports.
Honda recently unveiled a pilot product called Uni Cub, which a user sits on to drive. It has dual wheels, which enables 360 degree rotation. Toyota released I-Road, a small electric vehicle that resembles a three-wheel roofed motorcycle. It can drive up to 50 kilometers, meaning it can move without barrier within the city, Toyota explained. In 2009, GM launched PUMA jointly with Segway.
Electric bicycles also fall in the category of one-man transportation device, and are growing rapidly in China and Europe. In Korea, Samchuly Bicycle, Alton Sports and Mando have released electric bicycles, but sales were just 0.5 percent of global electric bicycles sales as of 2013.
Samchuly Bicycle launched sales of Phantom Mini electric bicycle in April this year, which is gaining popularity thanks to the power assist system, enabling motor to work when the users steps on the pedal. When users step on the pedal they can feel as if someone is softly pushing them, thus making possible easy speed up. It also has a throttle function, enabling an easy climb up of hills.