The Segway is a two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter invented by Dean Kamen and brought to market in 2001 as the Segway HT, subsequently as the Segway PT, and manufactured by Segway Inc. HT is an initialism for "human transporter" and PT for "personal transporter."
|Models made||i2 SE, x SE, miniPro, robot|
Ninebot, a Beijing-based transportation robotics startup rival, acquired Segway Inc. in April 2015, broadened the company to include other transportation devices, and announced in June 2020 it would no longer make a two-wheeled, self-balancing product.
The Segway PT, referred to during development and initial marketing as the Segway HT, was developed from the self-balancing iBOT wheelchair which was initially developed at University of Plymouth, in conjunction with BAE Systems and Sumitomo Precision Products. Segway's first patent was filed in 1994 and granted in 1997, followed by others, including one submitted in June 1999 and granted in October 2001.
Prior to its introduction, a news report about a proposal for a book about the invention, development, and financing of the Segway led to speculation about the device and its importance. John Doerr speculated that it would be more important than the Internet. South Park devoted an episode to making fun of the hype before the product was released. Steve Jobs was quoted as saying that it was "as big a deal as the PC", (he later expressed a negative opinion, saying that it "sucked", presumably referring to "the design" - but also referred to the (presumably high) price point, asking, "You're sure your market is upscale consumers for transportation?") The device was unveiled on 3 December 2001, following months of public speculation, in Bryant Park, New York City, on the ABC News morning program Good Morning America, with the first units delivered to customers in early 2002.
The original Segway models featured three speed settings: 6 miles per hour (9.7 km/h), 8 mph (13 km/h) with faster turning, and 10 mph (16 km/h). Steering of early versions was controlled using a twist grip that varied the speeds of the two motors. The range of the p-Series was 6–10 mi (9.7–16.1 km) on a fully charged nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery with a recharge time of 4–6 hours. In September 2003, the Segway PT was recalled, because if users ignored repeated low battery warnings on the PTs, it could ultimately lead them to fall. With a software patch to version 12.0, the PT would automatically slow down and stop in response to detecting low battery power.
In August 2006, Segway discontinued all previous models and introduced the i2 and x2 products, which were steered by leaning the handlebars to the right or left, had a maximum speed of 12.5 mph (20.1 km/h) from a pair of 2 horsepower (1.5 kW) Brushless DC electric motors with regenerative braking and a range of up to 15–25 mi (24–40 km), depending on terrain, riding style and state of the batteries. Recharging took 8–10 hours. The i2 and x2 also introduced the wireless InfoKey which could show mileage and a trip odometer, and put the Segway into Security mode, which locked the wheels and set off an alarm if it was moved, and could also be used to turn on the PT from up to 15 feet (4.6 m) away.
The company was acquired by British businessman Jimi Heselden, "known locally as Jimi, from its U.S. inventor Dean Kamen in December 2009." A year later, in an ironic and unfortunate accident, Heselden died after he "plunged into the River Wharfe while riding a rugged country version" of Segway.
Versions of the product prior to 2011 included (in order of release):
- Segway i167 (2001 revealed, 2002 shipped)
- Segway e167:[when?] As i167, with addition of electric kickstand
- Segway p133:[when?] Smaller platform and wheels and less powerful motors than the i and e Series with top speed of 10 miles per hour (16 km/h) in the p-Series
- Segway i180:[when?] With lithium-ion batteries
- Segway XT:[when?] The first Segway designed specifically for recreation
- Segway i2 (2006): The first on-road Segway PT with LeanSteer
- Segway x2 (2006): The first off-road Segway PT with LeanSteer
In March 2014, Segway announced third generation designs, including the i2 SE and x2 SE sport, new LeanSteer frame and powerbase designs, with integrated lighting.
Subsidiary of NinebotEdit
Ninebot Inc., a Beijing-based transportation robotics startup and a Segway rival, acquired Segway in April 2015, having raised $80M from Xiaomi and Sequoia Capital. The acquisition came months after the U.S. International Trade Commission agreed to investigate Segway's claim that Ninebot and other companies were infringing on its patents and copyrights. Segway requested the blocking of imports of competing scooters into the United States.
End of productionEdit
In June 2020, Ninebot, the owner of the Segway brand, announced that it would no longer make the namesake two-wheeled, self-balancing product.
Only 140,000 units were sold during the lifetime of the product, and in the later years the Segway PT only made up 1.5% of total company profit. Factors contributing to the end of production include the price (US$5,000 at launch), and the learning curve in learning to balance on a Segway which has led to notable accidents involving Usain Bolt, George W. Bush and the Segway Company owner Jimi Heselden. While the Segway has remained popular for security and tourism, electric scooters have been more popular for personal mobility.
At the end of production in 2020, Segway was selling these five self-balancing scooters:
- Segway i2 SE (professional self-balancing scooter for use in warehouses and other locations)
- Segway x2 SE (ruggedised self-balancing scooter for use on most challenging terrain)
- Segway Robot (autonomous robot based on the Segway miniPro)
The dynamics of the Segway PT are similar to a classic control problem, the inverted pendulum. It uses brushless DC electric motors in each wheel powered by lithium-ion batteries with balance achieved using tilt sensors, and gyroscopic sensors developed by BAE Systems' Advanced Technology Centre. The wheels are driven forward or backward as needed to return its pitch to upright.
In 2011, the Segway i2 was being marketed to the emergency medical services community. In 2018, the police of Stockholm adopted Segways as a permanent transportation method for the patrollers of the old town.
The Segway miniPro is also available to be used as the mobility section of a robot.
Disability Rights Advocates for Technology worked to supply Segway PTs to veterans who had trouble walking. (Segway Inc. cannot market its devices in the US as medical devices. Kamen sold the intellectual property rights for medical purposes to Johnson & Johnson, makers of the iBOT, a self-balancing wheelchair).
The maximum speed of the Segway PT is 12.5 miles per hour (20.1 km/h). The product is capable of covering 24 mi (39 km) on a fully charged lithium-ion battery, depending on terrain, riding style, and the condition of the batteries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does not have Segway-specific recommendations but does say that bicycle helmets are adequate for "low-speed, motor-assisted" scooters.
- Wilson, Mark (23 June 2020). "Segway, the most hyped invention since the Macintosh, ends production". Fast Company. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
- "Segways scrapped after two decades of high-profile falls". www.abc.net.au. 23 June 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
- Kemper, Steve (2003). Code name Ginger : the story behind segway and Dean Kamen's quest to invent a new world. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press. p. 27. ISBN 9781578516735. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
- US patent 5,701,965 Human transporter
- "Segway Patent Information" (PDF). Segway Inc. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- US Patent 6,302,230 Personal mobility vehicles and methods
- What Is 'IT'? Book Proposal Heightens Intrigue About Secret Invention Touted as Bigger Than the Internet or PC Archived 17 June 2001 at the Wayback Machine Inside.com, January 2001
- Kemper, Steve (2003). Reinventing the Wheel: A Story of Genius, Innovation, and Grand Ambition. ISBN 1578516730.
- "Reinventing the Wheel". Time. 2 December 2001. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
- Kemper, Steve (16 June 2003). "Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos meet "Ginger"". Harvard Business School Working Knowledge.
- "January 26, 2000". The Daily Show. 26 July 2000. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015.
- Machrone, Bill (3 December 2001). "Ginger Unveiled-It's a Scooter!". Extremetech.com. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
- Tweney, Dylan. "Wired.com retrospective". Retrieved 12 April 2009.
- "About Segway – Who We Are – Segway Milestones". Segway. Archived from the original on 18 March 2009. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
- "Segway, Official Site". Segway.com. 28 April 2011. Archived from the original on 27 October 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- "Segway LLC Recall to Upgrade Software on Segway Human Transporters". Cpsc.gov. 26 September 2003. Archived from the original on 22 September 2008. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
- "Segway i2". Segway.com. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
- "Enhanced range, courtesy of lithium-ion". Archived from the original on 17 October 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
- "Segway company owner rides scooter off cliff, dies". NBC News. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
A British businessman, who bought the Segway company less than a year ago, died after riding one of the scooters off a cliff and into a river near his Yorkshire estate.
- "Inquest into Segway head's death". BBC News. 4 October 2010.
- "Segway PT Previous Model". Segway Inc. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
- The versatile Segway PT i180 Archived 12 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "Segway Launches New SE Personal Transporters (PTs) And SegSolution Accessory Packages" (Press release). Segway. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- Catherine Shu (15 April 2015). "Beijing-based Ninebot Acquires Segway, Raises $80M From Xiaomi And Sequoia". TechCrunch.
- "Why This Chinese Startup Just Bought a Company Americans Love to Ridicule". Time. 15 April 2015.
- "CTV News | Business News - Financial News Canada". www.ctvnews.ca. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
- "Segway Patent Complaint Could Result In Import Ban On Most "Hoverboard" Scooters". Consumerist. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
- Mullin, Joe (17 March 2016). "Most "hoverboards" set to be banned from US, courtesy of Segway". Ars Technica. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
- "Segway launches $1,000 self-balancing scooter you can control like a drone from your phone". Venture Beat. 1 June 2016.
- "Segway I2 SE". Segway Inc. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
- "Segway x2 SE". Segway Inc. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
- "Meet Loomo". Segway Robotics. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
- "Ninebot by Segway E+". Segway Inc. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
- "Segway miniPro". Segway Inc. Archived from the original on 7 July 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
- "Segway - About Us - Press Releases - BAE SYSTEMS and Segway LLC Announce Partnership to Market Segway Human Transporter in the UK - 22 Jul 2002". segway-madrid.com.
- "EMS LifeLine". StreetSmart Segway. Archived from the original on 14 November 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- "IN PICTURES: Stockholm's segway police are here to stay". www.thelocal.se. 8 May 2018. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
- "Robot Segway Rovers Train Special Forces For Urban Warfare". Inventorspot.com. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
- "Disability Rights Advocates for Technology". Archived from the original on 27 August 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
- Higginbotham, Adam (27 October 2008). "Dean Kamen: part man, part machine". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 14 August 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
- "i2 SE Personal Transporter". Archived from the original on 27 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "CPSC Guide:Which Helmet for Which Activity" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 September 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2008.