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.
Pricing has not been announced but will likely be more than a regular Segway $2000-5000 and a regular small car ($6000-10000). The PUMA weighs 300 lbs versus 120-200 lbs for a Segway Personal Transporter. A regular small car weighs 1400-2600 lbs. Venturebeat indicates about a $5000 estimated price.
General Motors Corp. is teaming with Segway Inc., maker of the upright, self-balancing scooters, to build a new type of two-wheeled vehicle designed to move easily through congested urban streets.
The machine, which GM says it aims to develop by 2012, would run on batteries and use wireless technology to avoid traffic backups and navigate cities. It have a top speed of 35 miles per hour and 35 mile range.
A person on foot can comfortably travel in a 2 km area, the Segway PT increased that to 10 km and the PUMA will enable 20+km.
PUMA stands for Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility and a prototype will be shown in Manhattan on Tuesday, April 7, 2009.
It will utilize dual electric in-wheel motors powered by a lithium-ion battery, the PUMA uses the same balancing technology as its smaller brother—although it leans forward onto a second set of wheels for greater stability during loading and unloading.
* 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.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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