Segway & GM Build Balancing 2-Wheel-Car-Scooter

Every once in awhile we have some exciting news to share and we’re happy to do so right here on The Last Mile.

We’re pleased to introduce you to the Project P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility & Accessibility) prototype. It’s a working concept of what’s possible when you put together smart minds with the goal of setting a new vision for the future of urban transportation. We’re making this announcement today in collaboration with General Motors Corp. in New York City in advance of the New York Auto Show.

The PUMA Concept Car (credit GM)

The PUMA Concept Car (credit GM)

Introducing Project P.U.M.A.

Jim Norrod, CEO of Segway Inc. is here with us now and he had this to say:

“We are excited to be working together to demonstrate a dramatically different approach to urban mobility,” said Jim Norrod, CEO of Segway Inc. “There’s an emotional connection you get when using Segway products. The Project P.U.M.A. prototype embodies this completely through the combination of dynamic stabilization, seamless drive-by-wire controls, and sophisticated battery systems to complete the connection between the rider, environment, and others.”

Built off of the proven reliable and safe technology you find in Segway Personal Transporters (PTs), the prototype truly does expand upon the exhilarating riding experience. It increases capacity to two passengers in a seated position; capable of carrying them up to anywhere between 25 and 35 mph (40 – 56 kph) for anywhere between 25 and 35 miles (40 – 56 km) on a single charge.* It does so while taking advantage of the unparalleled maneuverability and advanced control you get through Segway’s use of dynamic stabilization (balancing technology). Add in know-how with large format lithium-ion batteries and you have something that’s zero emissions during operation – likely only costing about $.60 in electricity to recharge.

*It’s a prototype, which is why these high-end ranges vary so significantly.

Building upon transportation tech expertise
There are some things from Segway that make what we do truly unique. It’s not really like a kit of parts where we sprinkle a little tech here and a little there and end up with something that moves around. Instead, it’s a holistic approach – making sure that you smile whenever you try something from Segway.

Still, there are a few things that we inject in there that are worth calling out:

* Dynamic stabilization: The ability to balance on two wheels and have a true zero turning radius. It gives you incredible maneuverability.
* Electric propulsion: It’s extremely efficient and gives us significant fine control over vehicle dynamics. You also can use regenerative braking to charge back the batteries.
* Smart battery management: We’re one of the world’s largest customers of large format lithium-ion batteries. As such, we’ve become experts about the safe and efficient use of their chemistry.
* Drive-by-wire digital controls: Think about this whole thing as a digital solution to an analog problem. All steering inputs, acceleration, and deceleration are done with zeros and ones instead of levers, cables, and pads.
* Intuitive user interface: Shifting the center of mass of the vehicle controls how fast it goes and how quickly it stops. Check out the video to see it in action.
* Digital dashboard: Data from the vehicle such as speed, battery life, and other information can flow wireless to a handheld device wirelessly. Add in real-time traffic and other connectivity info. and you’ll be armed with enough information to sail through your commute.

This is what it could it look like someday if we were to continue development and spiff up the exterior:

Project P.U.M.A. concept

We know you probably have a lot of questions. We’ve been hearing some of them from the great people we’ve run in to in New York over the past couple of days filming some of the video you saw above. Good news is we have some answers for you. Just head on over to and check everything out. Video content will arrive after 10:00 a.m. today.

We’ll be updating The Last Mile a few times today with news throughout the day. We’re planning to be on NBC’s Today Show during the 7 a.m. Eastern hour (subject to change or not happen at all depending on the news of the day), so try and tune in if you can. For those on Twitter, be sure to follow @SegwayInc as we’ll be tweeting away with some behind the scenes shots/video/tid-bits as well.

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