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GM & Segway Announce PUMA

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GM & Segway Announce PUMA

As ridiculous as it may have been, I know I'm not the only one wants a Segway Personal Transporter. But I can't say I feel the same way about the company's collaboration with General Motors; the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility Project, or P.U.M.A. - because who doesn't like a snappy acronym?

The project is aiming to develop a self-balancing, two-wheeled vehicle capable of carrying two passengers at 35mph - just shy of three times the 12mph top speed of the Segway - with a range of 35 miles powered by a lithium-ion battery.

The P.U.M.A. prototype can carry two passengers; an improvement on the original Segway. As a trade-off it looks notably more ridiculous and that's saying something! With features such as autonomous driving and parking touted, though, looking a bit silly might be a worthwhile sacrifice.

A proposed vehicle-to-vehicle communication would enable P.U.M.A.s to relay information about traffic conditions, availability of parking spots and the like to the autonomous web. Great, just as long as the network doesn't become self-aware; we have enough problems in control of our vehicles

Link:

GM.

Kebab

April 7, 2009, 5:04 pm

I can't play segway polo on it though...

HarryGlass

April 7, 2009, 5:06 pm

I was looking at this on Engadget earlier. Nice to see it here so I can comment somewhere not totally mindless.





At first I laughed. But thinking about it a bit more I think they've actually got a lot of potential. In a "Future of Urban Transport" way (PUMA is the FUT, ha). I think they are actually far less stupid looking than the original Segway. I've never seen anyone use the original one, but the photos looks ridiculous, this thing actually seems alright to my eyes. It's a bit like that BMW wrap around bike, but a lot more economical and practical. Give it 10 years and I can imagine our streets full of these things.

Simon

April 7, 2009, 5:08 pm

They look like right fun, i want one (or two, so i can race a mate).

alchobot

April 7, 2009, 5:25 pm

vehicles like this are fine as ideas or concepts but totally impractical in real life due to thier price so there is no uptake of them. while they cost more than a reasonable second hand car they will never take off. looking at it there is no crash protetction so why don't they make it simpler and cheaper.

Keithe6e

April 7, 2009, 5:32 pm

35 mph, hope that frame is made of some strong stuff, or we might just see another Sinclair C5 death trap.

Geoff Richards

April 7, 2009, 5:43 pm

Having ridden one, I can confirm that Segways are AWESOME. This looks much wider, since it carries two people side-by-side, and I'm not toally convinced of the advantage of two wheels over four in this form. The gyro-balancing required adds complexity, cost and (probably) weight, so why not just have four wheels?





Certainly the PUMA is more weather-proof than a Segway, in the same was as a car is over a motorcycle.





Alchobot has a point, and one that was raised in a documentary I saw recently about who killed off the GM EV1 car (worth watching!!), which was this: essentially "the vehicle does less, so I want to pay less" says Mr Consumer. ie "only" two passengers, no luggage, 35 mile range etc etc = low-cost if it were to catch on.





The fact that a regular Segway costs &#1635,000 is a perfect example. If it was &#1631,000 I'd buy one tomorrow. Oh, except riding one anywhere other than private land is apparently illegal :( http://www.legalisesegways.co....

ChaosDefinesOrder

April 7, 2009, 5:44 pm

oh man, I actually laughed out loud when I saw that!

Mikey uk

April 7, 2009, 5:55 pm

Don't think these will catch on in the UK. They couldn't go on the pavement based cycle paths - too powerful. And in the road - I reckon our potholed roads will make it a pretty uncomfortable ride.

Matt G Baish

April 7, 2009, 6:09 pm

I think this looks great & practical (e.g. if you had a reasonable number of miles to commute to a station/work say but couldn't justify buying a car) - as long as they can keep the TCO reasonable.





I personally think the current &#1635K (!!!?!?!) Segways are totally pointless & seem to be for couch potatoes who can't be arsed to walk/run/cycle anywhere (surely that's what tv/tinternet/games consoles are for?) If they ever get the price down/legalise trad Segways for street use in the UK it will be a nightmare for the school run - you'll have the roads jammed up with 4x4s and the pavement jammed up with Segways - argh!


Ho hum.

Sundeep

April 7, 2009, 6:49 pm

makes the tata Nano look positively sane!

alchobot

April 8, 2009, 12:09 am

@sundeep - you made me laugh, cheers! continuing on from what I said earlier, I recently purchased a 1 owner low mileage BMW 120d probably for less than one of these and it is capable of over 70mpg in the right circumstances in ncap5 safety for the occupants at least. I think there is a big future for car sharing, just pay per mile whenever you use one and in the city something the size of a smart car is about right. I could probably live with a low range/speed electric vehicle because I only do a low mileage but it would have to be capable of carrying ladders etc as a single use vehicle, visions of Laurel & Hardy in a smart.

ilovethemonkeyhead

April 8, 2009, 4:57 am

cue hilarious youtube videos of these toppling face forwards.

ChrisC

April 8, 2009, 11:48 pm

I'd be trying to get it up on one wheel, which shouldn't be too difficult if you tried to take a corner at 35mph.





Doesn't look like there's much suspension travel either, so not much use in the UK then.

dmitri

April 9, 2009, 10:38 pm

This is either a joke or they are spitting in the face of the entire nation&#8230 Is this what GM spent 14 billion dollars taken from our pocket for? This would be a great solution for disabled people if it is considered as new model of the wheelchair&#8230 or for the spoiled kids of wealthy parents (GM&#8217s executives, vice-presidents, top-management, etc. who along with oil companies brought our country to the present shameful situation ). It's a new toy, not a serious innovation or concept! These people from GM are being especially shameless and irresponsible because they made this announcement right after Tesla Motor Company&#8217s presentation of Tesla S car which is a real technological and conceptual breakthrough. If we really want CHANGES we (our government ) should stop supporting these betrayers and let them die. Such companies like Tesla Motor are the best alternative solution in term of investments and jobs.

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