Energy & Sustainability
Segway PUMA
PUMA.jpg
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And you thought the Smart Car was Lilliputian! Segway has been showing off its latest “experimental” vehicle, a collaboration with GM, at the New York International Auto Show this week. Called the PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), the self-balancing two-wheeler can go about 35MPH top speed. S.E. Kramer from DVICE said it’s like driving around in a Ferris wheel gondola.


Second Opinion: Hitching a ride in GM and Segway’s PUMA

60 thoughts on “Segway PUMA

  1. It’s too bad they obviously threw this thing together without really thinking about how it would be used based on the fact that the guys jacket is about to get ruined by the wheel. Also in my opinion the only reason for using a motorized vehicle is to either travel long distances fast, and/or to carry things other than yourself, neither of which this does as of now. This thing reminds me of the hover pods used by the ridiculously obese and lazy in WALL-E!!!

  2. Could someone inform these fools about the bicycle? I mean really why would someone ride a segway instead of riding a bicycle? don’t care about the environment? your self health? and now this is what something you’d ride rather than a recumbent bicycle?

    It’s just getting really old people inventing vehicles, trying to solve global warming, obesity, etc. While all those answers are in one invention thats over a 100 years old. The question isn’t what, it’s why? Why are people so lazy and stupid?

    1. Seriously, these comments show a lack of insight.

      The PUMA can (according to specs) travel at 35MPH and has a several-hour run time. It could carry more cargo weight than what you could do with a bicycle, and can also carry a passenger.

      Bikes are great. Walking is great. They’re not the only available forms of transportation, and in many cases they are not a logical choice.

      This concept is the chassis only. Several design drawings show it being fully enclosed, so it works in rain/snow where a bike is impractical.

      I think we are lacking a serious short-haul viable transportation alternative. And the answer is NOT in bikes, or “open-air” human-propelled designs.

      1. I don’t think you understand bicycles, yes 35mph, but I can go 25mph on a bike, it’s not all that much faster. You can carry a lot of cargo with a bike, you can also have a passenger with many bikes.

        Bikes are a better form of transportation, they’re human powered and a logical choice, the only reason for not choosing them, is laziness.

        I ride my bike every single day, rain or snow. It is practical, you just have to cover yourself.

        The answer is bikes, it always has been, people are just too lazy to ride them.

        1. I like your blanket statements, Sab. Such certitude.

          >the only reason for not choosing them, is laziness.

          I’m a handicapped person and can’t ride a bike. I guess I’m SOL in your world. Thank God I don’t have to live there.

  3. I think I will keep my motorcycle…I think I do not want to have a GPS enabled, auto-driving, coffin on the interstate. I like the idea but i think this is a sign that GM is reaching. Hey, didn;t they have an electric car that they destroyed 20 years ago that was really good…what happened to that :-)

    1. Kamen?

      Dude, where have you been? Kamen hasn’t had anything to do with Segway for a LONG time now. It’s an independent company, Kamen has a board seat, but no real control or input whatsoever.

  4. this is the dumbest thing ive heard of in a long time.
    gm can’t even sell cars with FOUR wheels…

    this is exactly the type of stuff that needs cut from their (bankrupt) budget. there is a big difference in identifying ‘need’ and something that ‘could be done’. there is not a need for this beyond some niche hipster market.

    the coat dragging on the wheel is a nice touch though.

  5. Oh, GM. You just can’t figure it out, can you? You failed to make cars that people want. You failed to compete against smarter companies. You failed to see the trend of greener vehicles. Now you’ve partnered up with Segway, another company that failed to do anything useful.

    Please, go bankrupt so that the world can move on.

  6. No. This is a really good idea. Here’s why – several variations:

    When the power grid, the hacked electrical grid, the one that the Chinese or Russian hackers infiltrated, the one that everyone is “selfishly” connected to, the green one, yeah, that’s the one, fails, we can tote groceries by connecting the PUMA to the back of our bicycles.

    Alternately, I like the Mr. Fusion attached to the PUMA that will eliminate the need for our electrical grid. Now that’s real hope to change in.

    Pedal here. Pedal now. We just need another ten minutes on the cycle to give us 2 minutes of power in the PUMA.

    Picture 18-wheelers (9 chained pairs of PUMA) ripping across the plains of Wyoming, Iowa and Illinois each bringing sacks of corn for your ethanol powered generators.

    What is NEXT?

  7. does not look safe…

    30 mph is too fast… i would love to see crash testing done on these… might save a life or 2

    where can you drive these? on the road? bike paths? sidewalks?

    don’t get me wrong i LOVE this thing cant wait to play with one, but i might need to get some insurance first

  8. I think people are being a bit harsh. It is only an experimental and like a lot of experimentals it might never go anywhere. But you don’t want people to stop trying new things. People who read Make should now this better than others.

    What I don’t understand with this and the Segway is what problem is the balancing 2 wheel design meant to solve exactly? It seems a very high tech solution to something that can be solved by adding another wheel or two.

    1. I mostly agree. I just don’t understand why they would need a prototype of something that doesn’t even have that much theoretical value. It could be a great idea if the road infrastructure had been built for it.

      I’ve seen it said that this isn’t meant to replace anything we already have, but to solve a different problem entirely. What I’m not sure about is exactly what that problem is. Like the segway, it’s an interesting invention that seems to solve very few problems in practice (aside from pure novelty).

      However, while I was reading about this, I came across a video at newsy.com (http://www.newsy.com/videos/puma_balances_function_and_future/) that makes a pretty balanced presentation of the arguments for and against it. Like anything, it’s not simply good or bad.

  9. Why all the hate toward the company(ies) for this? If it was made by a Maker then it and the person making it would be lauded for their creativity. But since it is a commercial experiment it is bad? It has to be ripped on because Segway/GM is experimenting?

    Does the Maker spirit only apply to the little guy?

    It was an experiment. Perhaps it will lead to GM making a perfect electric vehicle to save the Earth. (I doubt it.)

    If it had been made by a Maker in his garage, it would be praised. If that Maker then works hard to make money from the idea does he then become a bad guy and worthy of these negative comments?

    1. Apparently the only two vehicles allowed are bicycles and SUVs.

      Anything else is nonconformist, and that’s too scary.

      (Some people are even scared of the bicycles.)

  10. People, wake up. The sole purpose of this prototype is to generate hype and free advertising for two companies whose real products have failed catastrophically. Mission accomplished.

    1. Is that your true assessment?

      1) The Segway didn’t storm the market. Perhaps they sold a minute fraction of what they intended, but they all function as designed. And many Makers made copies at all sorts of different scales.

      2) GMs real products – millions of Chevrolets, Saturn, etc. – “failed catastrophically”? I share the road with millions of GM vehicles. No doubt other Makers drive these catastrophically failing vehicles.

      You can aim your hate wherever you please. But your conclusion is tainted by something irrational.

  11. What is this? A Walmart wheel chair form GsegwayM on two wheels? Why don’t those idiots pay fpr good car designer like Daniel Simon?

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn