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Honda's latest mobility vehicle has space for two passengers

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If you thought Honda's Unicub was all a little bit lonely, perhaps its Wanderstand is the conceptual mobility vehicle of your dreams. With space for two, passengers half-sit/half-stand in the frame which Honda plans to be autonomously driven. Most of the driving and navigation controls will be voice-based. Its's about half the weight of a small car, but the chances (and timeframe) of the vehicle becoming reality will be decided by both progress in autonomous driving technology and the legal status of vehicles not driven by humans. However, the most interesting part of this autonomous vehicle is its dimensions: it's taller than it is long -- and there's a few reasons for that.

Gallery: Honda Wanderstand concept at Tokyo Motor Show 2015 | 8 Photos

Honda is pitching it as a mobility device that would to offer people a trip similar to a tourist walk around a neighborhood or popular sights. To that end, the engineers designed it so that people inside would be in the same line of sight as pedestrians and shop-owners. The saloon doors (western not car models) mean exiting the Wanderstand isn't a huge effort -- there's an ease and freedom to leaving the vehicle. (We've ridden Honda's Unicub a few times, and the dismount takes some getting used to). Another reason for the gentler seating is that it's going to be easier for older passengers.

Sitting inside the booth feels a little bit like a fancy waiting room: the dash will have touchscreen controls for maps, media playing and more, but at this point it's merely cosmetic. There's also a giant control stick in the middle. While the Wanderstand will mostly drive itself, the vehicle can also be steered. Rotating the stick rotates you, while you can move laterally by pulling to the sides. Forward and reverse are... well, you get the idea.

That makes the concept pretty agile -- necessary for Japan's smaller neighborhoods, and crowded tourist traps, perhaps. Honda's spokesman mentions the Wanderstand in the same breath as Uber and other services where someone else is doing the driving. However, with Honda's notion, human interaction (and language barriers) could completely avoided. The not-so-near-future may be driverless, but at least there'll be someone there to fight with over the music playlist.

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