China's Smart Unicycles

Rather than an electric bicycle, which is still somewhat bulky and difficult to store, how about a nifty unicycle without even handlebar...


Rather than an electric bicycle, which is still somewhat bulky and difficult to store, how about a nifty unicycle without even handlebars or seat? Changzhou Airwheel Technology’s smart unicycle has fast been gaining popularity since its debut last July. 

With a maximum speed of 18km/h and range of 23km on a full 90-minute charge, the vehicle (if we can call it one) is recommended for both transport and fun, much like skateboarding or rollerblading. The unicycle weighs only 9kg. Changzhou Airwheel Technology now has more than 200 franchise stores across the country, with e-stores on leading Chinese shopping websites, like Taobao.com, Tmall.com and JD.com.

The gadget, single-wheel Segway, transportation device…we do not know what to call it at this juncture…incorporates fuzzy software, posture control, motion control, anti-electromagnetic interference and a gyroscope. 

The unicycles are manufactured in the Changzhou National Hi-Tech District (CND) in Jiangsu, China, where 100,000 units are expected to come off the production line this year. The factory location was not chosen on a whim; the Changzhou government provided the company with funding amounting to RMB3 million for research and development, as well as equity investment valued at RMB5 million.

image: airwheel.net

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