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March 22, 2018

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Tech on wheels: Self-driving ATVs and portable smart vehicles shine


Jae C. Hong / AP

Honda robotics concepts 3E-C18, right, and 3E-A18 interact each other at CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas.

Wheeled devices made a big splash at CES this year, with technologically beefed up vehicles and robots for just about every situation.

From autonomous all-terrain vehicles that follow an owner around, to an electric scooter approved to board a flight, CES had just about everyone covered.

Here’s a trio of the more interesting wheeled devices that made the biggest splash at CES.

Honda “Empower” vehicles


Honda unveiled various autonomous vehicles as part of its “Empower” concept, which is based on humans and robotics working together to utilize the other’s strengths, and two stood out.

The autonomous ATV 3E-D18 features an electric-powered drivetrain that can accommodate multiple attachments, which makes it a multi-use vehicle. The off-road workhorse utilizes artificial intelligence to accommodate a variety of uses.

In addition to everyday uses such as a baggage cart or a stroller, the 3E-D18 can also be used for search and rescue, public safety, consumer enterprises, firefighting and more.

Honda envisions the vehicle aiding people with carrying loads they normally would struggle with on their own while navigating through uneven terrain, as the demo video shows a man hiking and the 3E-D18 following him, with his bags and gear.

The 3E-D18 robotic device can potentially minimize human exposure to dangerous environments and can perform time-consuming chores or mundane tasks.

Due to its compact size and ability to turn in a small radius, the 3E-D18 can navigate in tight spaces, while the height-adjustable seating can maintain a level seat even when it’s driven on an incline or decline.

Honda says the vehicle has the flexibility to be utilized in several locations safely.

Click to enlarge photo

An exhibitor demonstrates the Honda robotics concept 3E-C18 at CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas.


The “Experience” line is based on the theory that when people and robotic devices interact, the usefulness for one another increases.

This concept is displayed in Honda’s 3E-C18, a small electric robotic device that resembles a street vendor cart, created to serve as a mobile platform supporting the activities of entrepreneurs, artists and others.

The AI-enabled platform can learn by observing how people interact with it and can operate autonomously. The C18 features electronic eyes, so it can interact with those around it.

Some of the uses mentioned in a demonstration were as a mobile food stand and a DJ booth.

The cart-like platform offers storage spaces and a canopy, combined with a compact vehicle body base that has a driving function for an operator.

The 3E-C18 an D18 devices are in their pilot program phase, so pricing and availability are unavailable at this time.

Immotor's Go electric scooter

Click to enlarge photo

Daniel Huang demonstrates the Immotor Go during CES Unveiled before CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, in Las Vegas. The device is a battery powered foldable and portable smart vehicle.

Offering the usefulness and environmental consciousness of an electric scooter, with the convenience to fold the unit up and carry on an airplane, Immotor has the perfect vehicle for the on-the-go person.

The Go electric scooter weighs 30 pounds, is Transportation Security Administration (TSA) compliant and can be checked in on an airplane. It features a detachable battery and takes less than 30 seconds to fold up.

The super battery has a built-in microchip and processor, making the battery programmable. The battery also serves as a power bank, with the ability to charge USB Type A and Type C devices.

The Go features multiple layers of intelligence via its over-the-air updating, Bluetooth connectivity, media and audio capabilities with a built-in speaker, GPS tracking, parental controls and back-end data gathering for self-diagnostics.

The Go scooter links directly to customer service, ensuring that a rider is always connected and protected no matter where they travel.

Controlled through its accompanied app, Go’s speed is controlled by two pre-programmed speed modes. Mode 1 is set at 4 mph for safe riding on sidewalks, and Mode 2 is set at 13 mph for cruising.

The top speed for the GO is 16 mph and is accessible only via the app.

The Go Immotor App allows users to utilize their smartphones as a digital key to lock and unlock the scooter. Users can grant access to friends who wish to borrow it via their smartphone app.

The Go retails for $1,499, with financing programs for as low as $91 per month. The company also offers student and military discounts.