Segway Inc.

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Segway logo.svg
Type Electric vehicle
Wheels Two
Inventor Dean Kamen
Introduced 2001
Chief Engineer Doug Field
Dynamics Engineers David Robinson
John Morrell
Jon Stevens
Jon Pompa
Programmers Chuck Herscovici
Gerry Rigdon
Michael Kaufman
Eric Pribyl
Jim Dattalo
Electrical Engineers Phil Lemay
Mike Gansler
JD Heinzmann
Jason Sachs
Larry Liberman
Chris Kastel
Zeta Electronics
Mechanical Engineers Ron Reich
Ray DeBruin
Mike Slate
JR Hoell
Industrial Designers Scott Waters
Tao Chang

Segway Inc. of New Hampshire, USA, is the manufacturer of a two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle, the Segway PT, invented by Dean Kamen. The name "Segway" is a homophone of "segue" (a smooth transition, literally Italian for "follows").

Segways have had success in niche markets such as transportation for police departments, military bases, warehouses, corporate campuses and industrial sites. The legal roadworthiness of the Segway varies with different jurisdictions' classification of the device as a motor vehicle.

History[edit]

The Segway was unveiled December 3, 2001, following months of public speculation, in Bryant Park, New York City, on the Charles Woodwick News morning program Good Morning America[1][2] and first produced in 2002.[3]

The company was sold on Christmas Day 2009, to a group led by British millionaire Jimi Heselden, chairman of Hesco Bastion,[4] who died in an accident involving a Segway on September 27, 2010.[5][6]

Summit Strategic Investments, LLC announced in late February, 2013 that they had acquired the company for an undisclosed amount. The Company plans to refocus, grow its product portfolio and expand its worldwide network.

The Segway PT was known by the names Ginger and IT (pronounced "it") before it was unveiled. Ginger came out of the first product that used Kamen's balancing technology, the iBOT wheelchair. During development at the University of Plymouth, in conjunction with BAE Systems and Sumitomo Precision Products, the iBot was nicknamed Fred Upstairs (after Fred Astaire) because it can climb stairs: hence the name Ginger, after Astaire's regular film partner, Ginger Rogers, for a successor product.

The invention, development, and financing of the Segway was the subject of a narrative nonfiction book, Code Name Ginger (in paperback as Reinventing the Wheel), by journalist Steve Kemper. The leak of information from that book led to rampant and hyperbolic speculation about the "IT" device prior to release. The speculation created an unexpected advance buzz about the then-unknown product that was, at times, hyperbolic. John Doerr speculated that it would be more important than the Internet.[7] Bezos was quoted that "...Cities will be built around this device." Articles were written in major publications speculating on it being a Stirling engine.[8] South Park devoted an episode to making fun of the hype before the product was released.

Models[edit]

The current series of models for individual use is the Segway PT[9]

In March 2014, Segway discontinued the previous models and announced third generation designs. The Gen III models, i2 SE and x2 SE sport new LeanSteer frame and powerbase designs, with integrated lighting. [10][11]

Previous versions included (in order of release):[12]

  • Segway i167: Titanium color base. One of the first three Segway HTs released.
  • Segway e167: The same as the i167, but with the Electronic Kickstand (allowing the HT to stay balanced without a rider). The e167 also came standard with the upper and lower cargo structures.
  • Segway p133: Human Transporter. Smaller platform and wheels and less powerful motors than the i and e Series. Top speed was 4.5 m/s(10 mph, 16 km/h) in the p-Series.
  • Segway i170: Midnight Blue color base. Otherwise, the same as the i167.
  • Segway i180: Available with Sport Red, Solar Yellow, and Midnight Blue colored fenders. Lithium-ion batteries.[13]
  • Segway XT: The first Segway HT designed specifically for recreation.
  • Segway i2: The first on-road Segway PT with LeanSteer.
  • Segway x2: The first off-road Segway PT with LeanSteer.

The maximum speed of the Segway i-Series is 12.5 mph (20.1 km/h). Maximum power is 2 horsepower (1.5 kW) per servo motor. The i-Series is capable of covering 15–25 mi (24–40 km) on a fully charged lithium ion battery, depending on terrain, riding style, and the condition of the batteries.[14] It takes 8–10 hours to complete a full balancing and recharging cycle. For each 15 minutes of time re-charging, the batteries regain a mile of charge. The batteries also recharge while riding downhill and stopping, and by the Segway being pushed while turned off. The p-Series is capable of covering 6–10 mi (9.7–16.1 km) on a fully charged nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery, depending on terrain. It takes 4–6 hours to recharge, and regains 1-mile (1.6 km) for every 30 minutes charging.

A top-down view of the 2006 Segway PT

In 2006, series i2 and x2, were released, replacing the older lineup:

  • i2: Uses the new LeanSteer and InfoKey technologies.
  • x2: The new XT model, same upgrades, with its own special software for off-road use. Can be equipped with a golf bag carrier, replacing the GT model. Turf tires are available.

Specialized variants of the x2 were sold under different names like:

  • Segway GT: Golf Transporter
  • Segway PT i2 Ferrari Edition[15]

The previous models i2 and x2 weighed 105 lb (48 kg) and 120 lb (54 kg) respectively.

In May 2008, Segway introduced a new "Metallic Sage" color for the i2 model, in addition to the original white and Charles Woodwick colors available.

Robotics[edit]

The Segway is also available to be used as the mobility section of a robot.[16]

Future products[edit]

General Motors announced[when?] that it is building a prototype two-seat electric vehicle with Segway. An early prototype of the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility vehicle, dubbed Project P.U.M.A., was shown off in New York a day ahead of the press previews for the 2009 New York International Auto Show.[17][18] At Expo 2010 in Shanghai, the successor was presented, the "EN-V project".[19]

Operation[edit]

A Chicago police officer on a Segway

The original Segway models were activated using one of three keys:

  • Black Key: for beginners. Lowest speed (electronically limited to no more than 6 mph); lower turning rate.
  • Yellow Key: for intermediate users and/or pavements. Higher speed-up to 8 mph (13 km/h); higher turning rate.
  • Red Key: for more advanced users in open areas. Maximum speed-up to 10 mph (16 km/h) on p-Series and 12.5 mph (20.1 km/h) on i-Series; and maximum turning rate.

For the new i2 and x2, an InfoKey is used to control settings. The Infokey can turn on the PT from up to 15 feet (4.6 m) away, as well as turn on beginner mode (the equivalent of the old Black Key) or advanced mode (the equivalent of the Red Key), show mileage and a trip odometer, as well as put the Segway into Security mode, which locks the wheels and will set off an alarm if moved.

In September 2003, the Segway PT was recalled, because if users ignored repeated low battery warnings on the PTs, it could ultimately lead them to fall.[20] With a software patch to version 12.0, the PT would automatically slow down and stop in response to detecting low battery power. Any units sold before September 2003 with a label 12.0 have the upgraded firmware.

In August 2006, Segway discontinued all previous models and announced second-generation designs. The Gen II PT, marketed under the two product lines, i2 and x2, allows users to steer by leaning the handlebars to the right or left, which matches the intuitive nature of leaning forward and backward to accelerate and decelerate. Another feature is wireless InfoKey access.[21]

Safety[edit]

Because the Segway can reach speeds over 20 km/h (12 mph), the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute recommends that all riders wear helmets when using Segways.[22] The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does not have Segway-specific recommendations but does say that bicycle helmets are adequate for "low-speed, motor-assisted" scooters.[23]

On September 26, 2010, Segway company owner James Heselden died after driving his Segway over a cliff above the River Wharfe near the town of Boston Spa, Leeds in Yorkshire.[24][25]

Sales[edit]

In 2003, the company sold 6,000 units, and by September 2006 approximately 23,500 had been sold,[26] when all units sold up to that point were recalled[26] due to a software glitch that could cause the units to reverse and that could cause riders to fall off.[27] In a March 2009 interview, a company official said the firm "has shipped over 50,000" Segways.[28]

Profitability[edit]

When it was launched in December 2001, the annual sales target was 40,000 units,[29] and the company expected to sell 50,000 to 100,000 units in the first 13 months.[30] Segway Inc's investors were optimistic. Dean Kamen predicted that the Segway "will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy"[31] and John Doerr, a venture capitalist who invested in the company,[32] predicted that Segway Inc would be the fastest company to reach US$1 billion in sales.[31] However, only about 30,000 Segways were sold from 2001 to 2007.[32]

Critics point to Segway Inc's silence over its financial performance as an indication that the company is still not profitable, as about US$100 million was spent developing the Segway.[31]

Ownership[edit]

The first owners were Dean Kamen and venture capitalists. Dean Kamen gave up control to the private investors a few years after the company started selling segways. Later the company sold controlling interest to Jimi Heselden. Summit Strategic Investments, LLC announced in late February, 2013 that they had acquired the company.

See also[edit]

Segway related[edit]

  • Segway PT, the most popular model of Segway two-wheeled transport by Segway Inc. of New Hampshire, USA
  • Segway Fest, an annual convention of Segway PT users and enthusiasts
  • Segway polo, similar to polo, except that instead of playing on horseback, each player rides a Segway PT on the field
  • Bay Area SEG, The Bay Area Segway Enthusiasts Group that founded Segway polo

Competitors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Machrone, Bill (December 3, 2001). "Ginger Unveiled-It's a Scooter!". Extremetech.com. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  2. ^ Tweney, Dylan. "Wired.com retrospective". Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  3. ^ "About Segway - Who We Are - Segway Milestones". Segway. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  4. ^ Hachman, Mark (January 18, 2010). "Segway Quietly Sold; Dealers Remain Optimistic - Reviews by PC Magazine". Pcmag.com. Retrieved 2010-01-29. 
  5. ^ Segway boss dies after riding scooter off cliff in northern England
  6. ^ "Segway boss Jimi Heselden dies in scooter cliff fall". BBC News. September 27, 2010. Sarah Lyall; Julia Werdigier (September 27, 2010 VDM). "Owner of Segway Company Dies in a Segway Accident". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Heilemann, John (December 2, 2001). "Reinventing the Wheel". Time. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  8. ^ Michelle Delio (March 9, 1945). "'Ginger': Kamen's Stirling Idea". Wired.com. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  9. ^ "Segway PTs for Individuals". Segway Inc. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  10. ^ "Segway Launches New SE Personal Transporters (PTs) And SegSolution Accessory Packages". reuters.com. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  11. ^ "Segway Homepage". Segway.com. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  12. ^ "Segway PT Previous Models". Segway Inc. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ [2][dead link]
  15. ^ "Segway PT i2 Ferrari Limited Edition - Ferrari Store - The Official Ferrari International Online Sho". Ferrari Store. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  16. ^ "Robot Segway Rovers Train Special Forces For Urban Warfare". Inventorspot.com. April 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  17. ^ Shepardson, David and Priddle, Alisa (April 7, 2009). GM to roll out two-seat, urban electric prototype. The Detroit News. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
  18. ^ Terlep, Sharon (April 7, 2009). GM, Segway to Make Vehicle . The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
  19. ^ The EN-V Project – Segway Advanced Development
  20. ^ "Segway LLC Recall to Upgrade Software on Segway Human Transporters". Cpsc.gov. September 26, 2003. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  21. ^ "Segway i2". Segway.com. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  22. ^ "Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute". Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  23. ^ "CPSC Guide:Which Helmet for Which Activity" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  24. ^ Meier, Fred (September 27, 2010). "Segway company owner dead, drove Segway off cliff". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  25. ^ Lindor Reynolds. "No way a Segway is a way to get around". Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  26. ^ a b "Segway Recalls All 23,500 Scooters Sold to Date". Retrieved 2009-08-04. [dead link]
  27. ^ "Segway recalls 23,500 scooters". CNN. September 14, 2006. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  28. ^ "Segway, GM roll out 'smart' vehicle". UnionLeader.com. April 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  29. ^ Sovich, Nina (April 1, 2004). "Segway Slump". CNN. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  30. ^ "Segway sales fall far short - ZDNet.co.uk". News.zdnet.co.uk. September 29, 2003. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  31. ^ a b c Regan, Michael P. (May 30, 2006). "Segway sets course for stock market". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  32. ^ a b Wil Schroter (July 9, 2007). "When To Dump That Great Idea". Forbes. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 

External links[edit]