Segway Inc.

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Segway Inc.
Subsidiary
IndustryPersonal transporters and robotics
Founded1999[1]
FounderDean Kamen
HeadquartersBedford, New Hampshire, United States
Key people
Roger L. Brown II (CEO)
Dr. Dean L. Kamen (Founder and chairman)
Judy Cai (Finance)
Matt Polimeno (Operations)
Sue Greeley (Human resources)[1]
OwnerNinebot
Websitewww.segway.com

Segway Inc. is an American manufacturer of two-wheeled personal transporters, chiefly through its Segway PT and Segway miniPro product lines. Since 2015, it has been owned by the Chinese company Ninebot. Founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1999, the company's name is a homophone of the word "segue".

Segway Inc. is headquartered in the U.S. state of New Hampshire and primarily markets its products to various niche markets, including police departments, military bases, warehouses, corporate campuses, and industrial sites. It has held some key patents on designs for self-balancing personal transporters, although some of them have since expired. Since being acquired by Ninebot, Segway Inc. has focused on developing a stronger presence in the consumer market with smaller products such as the Segway miniPro.

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

Segway used by three policemen in Germany

The first patent by Dean Kamen for a self-balancing transportation device was filed on February 23, 1993, and granted on December 30, 1997, in relation to the iBOT, a self-balancing wheelchair which he developed at DEKA, a company that he had founded in 1982.[2] That patent has since expired,[2] although it was followed by various others, and some patents assigned to the company have not yet expired (as of early 2019).[3]

Development of the iBOT started in 1990 with the first working prototypes available in 1992. In late 1994, DEKA signed a deal with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture the unit, with Johnson & Johnson paying for all subsequent R&D with DEKA received a smaller royalty fee than normal in return for their retaining rights to all non-medical applications of the technology. The iBOT was revealed to the public on Dateline NBC in a segment by John Hockenberry on June 30, 1999.[4][5]

Independent years[edit]

Segway Inc. was founded in July 1999 to develop non-medical applications for the self-balancing technology, and the Segway PT, a two-wheeled personal transporter, was launched in December 2001,[6] with first deliveries to customers in early 2002.

When it was launched in December 2001, the annual sales target was 40,000 units,[7] and the company expected to sell 50,000 to 100,000 units in the first 13 months.[8] By 2003, the company had sold 6,000 units, and by September 2006 approximately 23,500,[9] when all units sold up to that point were recalled[9] due to a software glitch that could cause the units to reverse, potentially causing riders to fall off.[10] In a March 2009 interview, a company official said the firm "has shipped over 50,000" Segway PTs.[11]

Segway Inc's investors remained optimistic. Dean Kamen predicted that the Segway "will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy"[12] and John Doerr, a venture capitalist who invested in the company,[13] predicted that Segway Inc would be the fastest company to reach US$1 billion in sales.[12]

By 2007, cumulative sales were 30,000 units.[13] Critics pointed to Segway Inc's silence over its financial performance as an indication that the company was still not profitable, following expenditure of some US$100 million developing the Segway PT.[12]

In 2009 General Motors announced that it was 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 demonstrated in New York a day ahead of the press previews for the 2009 New York International Auto Show.[14][15] At Expo 2010 in Shanghai, the successor was presented, the "EN-V project".[16]

James Norrod served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Segway Inc. from April 2005 to January 2010 and steered the sale of the company to a group led by British millionaire Jimi Heselden, chairman of Hesco Bastion in December 2009.[17] After the sale, Dean Kamen was no longer involved with the company.

The new owner died in 2010 when he drove off a cliff while riding a Segway.[18]

In February 2013, Summit Strategic Investments, LLC, announced it had acquired the company, saying that it planned to refocus, grow its product portfolio and expand its worldwide network. In September 2014, Segway filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission about the infringement of several of its patents by several Chinese companies, including Ninebot, Shenzhen INMOTION Technologies and Robstep Robot.[19]

Subsidiary of Ninebot[edit]

On April 1, 2015, Segway was acquired by Ninebot Inc., a Beijing-based transportation robotics startup that had raised $80M USD from Xiaomi and Sequoia Capital.[20]

In May 2016, it was announced that the Segway miniPRO, a smaller self-balancing scooter, would be launched in June that year.[21]

In June 2018, it was announced that production of the Segway PT would move from New Hampshire to China.[22]

26th of June 2018 "Segway says most of its production will remain in Bedford".[23]

Products[edit]

As of August 2018:

Products branded 'Segway'
  • Segway i2 SE (professional self-balancing scooter for use in warehouses and other locations)[24]
  • Segway x2 SE (ruggedised self-balancing scooter for use on most challenging terrain)[25]
  • Segway SE 3 (three-wheeled standup motorized scooter for professional use)[26]
  • Segway Robot (autonomous robot based on the Segway mini plus)[27]
  • Segway Drift W1 (self-balancing rollerblades)[28]
Products branded 'Ninebot by Segway'
  • Ninebot by Segway E+ (self-balancing scooter for general use)[29]
  • Ninebot by Segway miniPro (smaller self-balancing scooter for general use, controlled by a 'knee control bar')[30]
  • Ninebot by Segway One S2, (latest generation self-balancing unicycle)[31]
  • Ninebot by Segway One E+ (earlier model of self-balancing unicycle)[32]
  • Ninebot by Segway ES1/ES2/ES4 (a series of electric kick-scooters). An ES4 is essentially an ES2 with external battery attached.[33]

See also[edit]

  • 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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Company Overview of Segway Inc". Bloomberg.
  2. ^ a b US patent 5,701,965 Human transporter, now expired
  3. ^ "Segway Patent Information" (PDF). Segway Inc.
  4. ^ "The iBOT". msu.edu. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  5. ^ Kemper, Steve. Code Name Ginger: The Story Behind Segway and Dean Kamen's Quest to Invent a New World. Harvard Business Press. p. 53. ISBN 9781578516735.
  6. ^ Machrone, Bill (December 3, 2001). "Ginger Unveiled-It's a Scooter!". Extremetech.com. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  7. ^ Sovich, Nina (April 1, 2004). "Segway Slump". CNN. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  8. ^ "Segway sales fall far short - ZDNet.co.uk". News.zdnet.co.uk. September 29, 2003. Archived from the original on January 15, 2010. Retrieved March 11, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ a b "Segway Recalls All 23,500 Scooters Sold to Date". Retrieved August 4, 2009.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Segway recalls 23,500 scooters". CNN. September 14, 2006. Retrieved August 4, 2009.
  11. ^ "Segway, GM roll out 'smart' vehicle". UnionLeader.com. April 8, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  12. ^ a b c Regan, Michael P. (May 30, 2006). "Segway sets course for stock market". USA Today. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  13. ^ a b Schroter, Wil (July 9, 2007). "When To Dump That Great Idea". Forbes. Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved March 11, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  14. ^ Shepardson, David and Priddle, Alisa (April 7, 2009). "GM to roll out two-seat, urban electric prototype". The Detroit News. Retrieved April 7, 2009.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  15. ^ Terlep, Sharon (April 7, 2009). "GM, Segway to Make Vehicle". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
  16. ^ "The EN-V Project – Segway Advanced Development". Segway. Archived from the original on November 28, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  17. ^ Hachman, Mark (January 18, 2010). "Segway Quietly Sold; Dealers Remain Optimistic - Reviews by PC Magazine". Pcmag.com. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
  18. ^ "Segway boss Jimi Heselden dies in scooter cliff fall". BBC News. September 27, 2010.
  19. ^ United States International Trade Commission: "Complaint of Segway Inc. and Deka Products Limited Partnership under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as Amended." 9 September 2014. Available on Segway's website Archived May 1, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ Catherine Shu: "Beijing-based Ninebot Acquires Segway, Raises $80M From Xiaomi And Sequoia", TechCrunch, 15 April 2015.
  21. ^ "Segway pounces on hoverboard market". Boston Globe. May 14, 2016.
  22. ^ Cousineau, Michael (June 26, 2018). "Segway production moving from Bedford to China, layoffs anticipated". New Hampshire Union Leader. Manchester, New Hampshire. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  23. ^ "Segway says most of its production will remain in Bedford". Manchester, New Hampshire. June 26, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  24. ^ "Segway I2 SE". Segway Inc. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  25. ^ "Segway x2 SE". Segway Inc. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  26. ^ "Segway SE 3". Segway Inc. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  27. ^ "Meet Loomo". Segway Robotics. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  28. ^ "Segway Drift W1". Segway Inc. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  29. ^ "Ninebot by Segway E+". Segway Inc. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  30. ^ "Segway miniPro". Segway Inc. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  31. ^ "Ninebot by Segway One S2". Segway Inc. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  32. ^ "Ninebot by Segway One E+". Segway Inc. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  33. ^ "Ninebot by Segway ES2". Segway Inc. Retrieved August 24, 2018.

External links[edit]