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GM and Segway Join Forces to Reinvent Urban Transportation

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GM press release

NEW YORK - General Motors Corp. and Segway today demonstrated a new type of vehicle that could change the way we move around in cities.

Dubbed Project P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), GM and Segway are developing an electrically powered, two-seat prototype vehicle that has only two wheels. It could allow people to travel around cities more quickly, safely, quietly and cleanly - and at a lower total cost. The vehicle also enables design creativity, fashion, fun and social networking.

GM and Segway announced their collaboration, while demonstrating the Project P.U.M.A. prototype in New York City this morning.

"Project P.U.M.A. represents a unique solution to moving about and interacting in cities, where more than half of the world's people live," said Larry Burns, GM vice president of research and development, and strategic planning. "Imagine small, nimble electric vehicles that know where other moving objects are and avoid running into them. Now, connect those vehicles in an Internet-like web and you can greatly enhance the ability of people to move through cities, find places to park and connect to their social and business networks."

Trends indicate that urbanization is growing, and with that comes increased congestion and more competition for parking. Cities around the world are actively looking for solutions to alleviate congestion and pollution. Project P.U.M.A. addresses those concerns. It combines several technologies demonstrated by GM and Segway, including electric drive and batteries; dynamic stabilization (two-wheel balancing); all-electronic acceleration, steering and braking; vehicle-to-vehicle communications; and autonomous driving and parking. Those technologies integrate in Project P.U.M.A. to increase mobility freedom, while also enabling energy efficiency, zero emissions, enhanced safety, seamless connectivity and reduced congestion in cities.

"We are excited to be working together to demonstrate a dramatically different approach to urban mobility," said Jim Norrod, CEO of Segway Inc. "There's an emotional connection you get when using Segway products. The Project P.U.M.A. prototype vehicle embodies this through the combination of advanced technologies that Segway and GM bring to the table to complete the connection between the rider, environment, and others."

Project P.U.M.A. vehicles will also allow designers to create new fashion trends for cars, and to focus on the passion and emotion that people express through their vehicles while creating solutions that anticipate the future needs of urban customers.

The Project P.U.M.A. prototype vehicle integrates a lithium-ion battery, digital smart energy management, two-wheel balancing, dual electric wheel motors, and a dockable user interface that allows off-board connectivity. The result is an advanced and functional concept that demonstrates the capabilities of technology that exists today.

Built to carry two or more passengers, it can travel at speeds up to 35 miles per hour (56 kph), with a range up to 35 miles (56 km) between recharges.

Since the introduction of the Segway Personal Transporter (PT), Segway has established itself as the leader in the small electric vehicle space. Its approach to congestion and environmental challenges is balanced with a strong understanding of the functional needs of its customers, enabling them to do more with less. Segway has delivered more than 60,000 lithium-ion batteries to the market.

GM has been a leader in "connected vehicle" technologies since it introduced OnStar in 1996. Today, this on-board communications package connects six million subscribers in North America to OnStar safety and security services. GM has also pioneered vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications systems and transponder technology. These and additional connected vehicle technologies could ultimately enable vehicles that don't crash and drive themselves.

"Imagine moving about cities in a vehicle fashioned to your taste, that's fun to drive and ride in, that safely takes you where you want to go, and "connects" you to friends and family, while using clean, renewable energy, producing zero vehicle tailpipe emissions, and without the stress of traffic jams," said Burns. "And imagine doing this for one-fourth to one-third the cost of what you pay to own and operate today's automobile. This is what Project P.U.M.A. is capable of delivering."

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HAHAHAHAHA!!! Good grief, will they ever learn? OK obvious things first: where do you put the groceries? "Built to carry two or more"? Really? Are the 3rd+ people strapped to the roof? This thing has to be driven on roads with a top speed like that--too fast for sidewalks. What happens in the event of a collision? Why is it open-air? How do the groceries stay inside when the thing makes a turn? I don't see doors or anything.

I do not see a market for this, except for retirement communities.

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I saw this headline this morning at Google Finance and about slapped my forehead. The Prius will lose the dorkmobile status to this if it's built, and I can already see the snickers and finger pointing.

Edited by mustang84
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Hmmm.

After city-centers mandate such things and ban private autos, I can see the first headlines already after a "green" mass-transit bus crushes a few people in one of these.

All the more reason that I never want to be "urban".

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YAY! The future!

Looks like cars will no longer be allowed...

What's that you say? You want to drive yourself?!?! LOLOLOLOLOLOL..... NOT ALLOWED!

GM, the USV company... Too bad I'm not ultra small and have no desire to EVER drive an ultra small vehicle.

But alas, I guess GM has to kiss the greenies/medias asses somehow.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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I have a better idea. Extend it by 1.5 feet, add a small trunk, and a third wheel. Then you could carry something with you, and wouldn't be wasting a bunch of energy balancing, just use energy for driving.

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I took this as intended to be more of an inner city 'taxi' than replacing one's personal car, so things like trunk space wouldn't figure into it. Smart car isn't much bigger and gets terrible MPG (for it's size).

How many of the 1-person Segways have been sold, and how are they being used? This offers space for 2 and a roof of sorts, plus the supposed tech 'advantages'. I can easily see Barry & the Auto Task Force getting positively liquid over this.

Is it for me? Are you high? But I know there's folk that will jump all over this. Question is- how many and is there a profit in it for GM?

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As I recall the Segway has been less than successful. This would continue that trend I think.

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This I can see having a place in congested smelly cities like NY, Chicago, LA. But for most people it will not cover their need.

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Maybe this will be Pontiac's new niche model.

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The only silver lining here for me is that GM's involvement seems limited to the provision of OnStar...so presumably GM is making money here.

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I don't see the market for this. In dense areas like NYC, people get by fine using transit or walking. From the pictures, it's propelling along on a sidewalk - which, in real life, would be filled with people.

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I see it as eminently practical in humanity-choked nations like India for example. For inner-city applications. Easier to maneuver than even a Tata 'Nano'. Think "SlumDog Hundred-aire On Wheels".

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Anything this size should be powered by the driver. Human-powered transportation is infinitely more green than any electric vehicle. This is the kind of vehicle America doesn't need. It is just taking for granted, taking advantage of and further promoting the tendency for Americans to be lazy and fat.

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Maybe this will be Pontiac's new niche model.

Not a bad idea. It might irritate some current Pontiac owners, but it could breath life back into the brand as a whole.

They could even resurrect the Oldsmobile name? How about calling it the Oldsmobile Curved Dash or Oldsmobile Runabout. :yes:

Edited by Dsuupr
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I assume this is going to reinvent urban transoirt the same way the Segway reinvented urban transport.

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