(Not to be confused with the segue, a rhetorical device for changing from one topic to another.)
An experimental two-wheel self-balancing scooter-like transportation device that can run 15 miles on ten cents worth of electricity.
Looks cool, but certainly won't replace the automobile. But it's refactored out a lot of the problems with other existing personal transportation devices. Improvements over existing devices include:
- Smaller footprint - takes up only slightly more space than a human standing.
- No physical exertion needed - just what the already dangerously obese American public needs.
- Low power consumption
- Balances itself - no learning curve as in BiCycle?, RollerBlades (InlineSkates?), or HeelyShoes.
If sidewalks everywhere were built with fewer wide cracks than in my neighborhood, HeelyShoes
would be superior in most respects. -- NickBensema
- Heavy at 65lbs. Average person can't lift it.
- Standing is hard for many people.
- Can't transport anything. - but can be equipped with saddle bags holding up to 70 lbs, or a trailer.
- sucks in the rain
- Might have control problems on ice. Something which most definitely would be encountered.
- Why would one need to lift it - have you lifted your auto lately?
- Most people stand quite well. The many who can't can sit and travel in the normal way or walk, but certainly not move by way of HeelyShoes.
- Backpacks should suffice for the agile commuter.
- A demonstration that snow and ice are no problem can be seen at http://www.segway.com/consumer/home_flash.html
You need to lift it over stairs, on the bus, into your office, etc. Many many
people cannot stand for very long at all. Backpacks are good for young 'uns. So
you are right, it's aimed squarely at the scooter market.
You can go anywhere a wheelchair can go with it, so no need to lift up stairs, To lift it on to a bus would defeat its purpose - since it can go where the bus goes. You do not have to stand very long on it for the range it offers, and what would you put in a backpack that an agile 80 year old couldn't carry? I did say agile, didn't I? As for taking it to your office cubicle, are you crazy? You would park it in the company-provided Segway parking lot.
Usually something new must take over by first taking over current niches. We will have no company provided segway parking lots. And people don't park their bikes outside now, don't think they will park their $5k segway outside.
You need the bus to connect you over longer distances. Segway is slow and has short range. If you need to cover any distance there must be a complementary inftrastructure in place. Agile people aren't the only ones who travel.
The segway device as I see it is not: An automobile and will not serve as one, nor is it a substitute for a bicycle, scooter, motorcycle or any other transportation device.
It will not fill the need of all possible transport needs, it will not be used by those who are slow to accept innovation and are against anything new or those who can only think of what it cannot do.
It will however be used in certain locales and niches by people who do see its potential and possibilities to meet certain of their transportation needs.
For example, I spent most of yesterday dragging a 3-year old around the San Diego zoo. For those who haven't been there, this zoo is built on a canyon, and it's a very stroller-hostile terrain. Lots of frustration for the kids, old folks, and obese persons visiting it. But if the zoo kept a few hundred SegwayDevice
s available for rent, it'd easily recoup their costs in just a year.
What would you do with the 3 year old? Stuff it in the saddle bag?
Lots of places in San Francisco have similar problems. Flat cities probably won't use them as much.
I haven't really followed Segway in any detail, but for some reason I assumed it was meant as an alternative to _walking_. So many of the cons above don't seem like a big deal, when compared to walking. Although the difficulty of going up and down stairs is a problem. But if they prove popular, that could be an impetus for architects and city planners to build structures that are more accessible.
I don't think it will take off in my locale (Houston, Texas, USA) for any one of the following reasons:
As soon as I get my 3 1/2 ton SUV paid for, and if the SegwayDevice is available which it should be - since I have another 2 years to go in my payment book for the SUV. I will get me one of these things. I can then use the trails near my home and the bicycle lanes to play with my new high tech toy and impress everybody in the neighborhood about how eco-sensitive I am, I might even hook up a wagon to it and take the neighbors' kids for a ride - they'll think it rules.
- People are buying 3-ton SUVs for a reason. Some of them couch it in terms of safety, but the way it comes out is "I want to be driving the biggest thing on the road." These people won't buy the Segway, unless it's only to impress their neighbors.
- Those 3-ton SUVs on the road, turning from the wrong lane at too high a speed without using turn signals or yielding to smaller traffic that actually has the right of way. Eco-conscious people who would otherwise buy a Segway will hesitate to share the road with people who already don't yield to bicycles (which go faster than 17 mph and, by Texas law, have the same rights and responsibilities as cars). I hear you - I rode a bicycle in Houston one time, and I swear the Texans must think it is their duty to run over cyclists or scare them to death by driving as close as possible to them without hitting them. (it seems laws in Texas are made to be broken).
- Cars have become mobile offices. People have conference calls on their cell phones, use GPS systems tied into their computers, etc. while driving.
- Air-conditioning. 100+ degrees F and 100% humidity don't mix well with business suits and scooters.
- Rain. Lots of it.
- Potholes. A recent local scandal involved road workers who were seriously inflating the number of potholes they patched. It turns out that the city department of public works counts potholes by the area, not by the pothole, so a 2-foot diameter patch counts for 4 times as many potholes as a 1-foot diameter patch. Meanwhile, the number of actual holes in the road continues to grow...
I think there could be a huge market in performance tweaks for the Segway. I want to be the first person to put a V8 on one... -- BruceIde
I take it you mean one of these?
Cuz I don't think an IC engine would fit...
;-) -- MikeSmith
Better than a Yamaha Vino? -- JonDonahue
Or, perhaps even better, the BMW C1? http://www.bmw-c1.com
All I know is that I get a serious case of the "IWantz" when I see this thing. You gotta check out the sexy Flash demo on their web site. --MichaelLeach
You can now get one at http://www.amazon.com/
Believe it or not.
What gets me is how many communities have enacted ordinances allowing Segway on sidewalks. Wait until the first serious injury occurs when some bonehead rides onto a crowded sidewalk at 17 mph. If bicycles (available for US$100s) remain unpopular then you can be assured that this thing (US$1000s) will never be more than a SharperImage?