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Friday, October 30, 2015

Honda “Wander” Concepts Preview a Bright Future for Personal Mobility


Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.

As we age, getting around just isn’t as easy as it used to be. Like a crutch, modern technology has by-and-large solved this by bringing the world to our fingertips via smartphones and tablets, but that’s really just one side of a two-way street. 
Tomorrow’s technology will make it easier for everyone to get out and be mobile, and that’s the world that Honda is moving toward with its two new “Wander” concept vehicles, previewed at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show—the pod-like Wander Stand and four-wheeled Wander Walker. Try saying that five times fast…


The more eye-catching of the two is undoubtedly the Wander Stand, which measures in at around four feet wide and six feet tall. According to Honda, the Stand has been designed to accommodate two adults side-by-side, and can maneuver through narrow urban areas and change direction with ease, thanks to the company’s Omni Traction Drive System (a descendent from Honda’s UNI-CUB concept).
This freedom of movement would make it a great option for mobilizing the elderly, and although Honda hasn’t explicitly named that as a goal, the auto giant does express it wishes to bring “the joy of freedom of movement to as many people as possible.”

Inside, the Wander Stand features a dashboard with mobility controls and a head-up display over glass, which can stream information to passengers in a seamless fashion. Also included is an “automatic drive” mode, which suggests the Stand can autonomously zip occupants around from place to place. A top speed was not mentioned.


The sportier Wander Walker does have a top speed however—3.7 miles per hour—and it proves itself a sleek alternative to the archetypal mobility scooter. Measuring in at just under two feet wide and around three feet tall, the Wander Walker is said to be an indoor and outdoor vehicle, compact enough to get through Japan’s train turnstiles and other tight areas. In fact, it’s so maneuverable it has a turning radius of only one meter, due to its inward-swiveling airless tires.

A tablet finds itself mounted behind the handlebars, offering up a helpful navigation system. However, the Wander Walker also features Wi-Fi, which Honda says allows family members to locate riders using their smart phones. Not a bad feature when in a crowded shopping center.

Like what you see? These certainly aren’t the only special vehicles Honda rolled out for the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. Joining them is Honda’s radical Project 2&4 concept and Neowing three-wheeler. Stay tuned for more.