Monday, April 06, 2009

GM & Segway project.


Talk about "expect the unexpected"...

I'm not even sure what to say about this. The Segway turned out to be the nerdiest invention ever. Instently turning anyone into a dork.
This seems slightly cooler.

Make up your own mind by reading the "official word from the suits":
.........................



"GM and Segway Join Forces to Reinvent Urban Transportation

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."

15 comments:

el_monty said...

It certainly doesn't look any less dorky than a regular Segway. Toyota's recent PM, i-Unit, i-Swing and i-Real concepts for personal transportation looked way, way cooler. But if this actually makes it into the market instead of staying in the same limbo as all the Toyota concepts, then I will welcome it, because I do think that cities increasingly need these kind of solutions

dazed said...

This could turn out real cool if GM Design applies their magic to it!!

NYSE said...

gm is going bankrupt, this picture tells us why. They have wasted millions on countless B.S. projects for over 40 years now.

Anonymous said...

I still do get the overly complex way this device stands up. Why so complex? A couple of casters on the front corners and you can do away with much of the computer controlled balancing act, and drop the price by 2/3rds or more.

Les said...

NYSE,

Even an inefficient company like GM can whip-up one of these for less than 1/100 of 1% of the 80 billion they've lost in the past few years.

This concept has some potential as a scooter/small motorcycle replacement. It solves some of the traditional bike problems such as weather protection, the need to wear a helmet and the tendency to fall over when you lose grip.

It also solves the problem that people think they look cool on a bike, and drive like idiots to restore some balance.

Anonymous said...

All consumer goods companies go through countless BS projects to develop concepts for market. But usually they go through a feasability and lifestyle review first.

These would be pretty useless as a replacement for the motorvehicle, since people will need storage for briefcases, groceries etc... and that additional weight would have to be offset - not easily balanced over the pinion of the drive wheels. My guess is that GM's contribution to this was mild: communication technology, seats and some plastics, maybe even machine shop access for the frame. So, not a big investment for them. Just a decent exercise, like the kind of exploration that GM did before, that brought forward ABS or VSA.

And GM's not broke because of BS projects, but because their standard product line was uncompetitive.

Anonymous said...

This is nwhat there spending U.S. tax payer money on!!!!!!!!!!!! I have always a soft spot for GM. But after seeing this, they can't fail fast enough.

Use the money they are spending on this joke to bring the Cadillac Converj to market.

Anonymous said...

Yes...great idea...because its the millions of pedestrians walking to work in our major urban downtown areas that are contributing to nationwide gridlock, pollution and the never ending expansion of 18 lane highways...

Anonymous said...

Stupid. Why not improve electric scooters and soup up some golf carts first. This is just propaganda to make the public not feel bad about the bailout.

Anonymous said...

not sure about "slightly cooler." I suppose it would be pretty impressive to somehow make something less cool than a Segway...maybe equally lame is the right description?

Anonymous said...

Bring back the Cimmeron.

Fanbot said...

what a waste of money , it won't sell. china will make a version , better built for 1/3 the price. You know, China builds alot of your beloved Apple products. They know how to do it. They built my gorgeous macbook air. GM, is finished and is wasteful...bankarotto as they say in Italy.

Anonymous said...

WTF!!! Now you get two dorks on one Segway.

Why doesn't GM spend more of my money on something worthwhile?

Get off your butts and walk ....

Ford Fanboy said...

Gm shes a finito, capiche.

Anonymous said...

A lot of movie stars have had one-off custom-built cars. Why shouldn't Bozo the Clown?