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The Chevy Segway Keeps On Rolling (Video) 210

Posted by Roblimo
from the as-if-regular-Segways-weren't-dorky-enough dept.
Back in 2009 G.M. and Segway talked about the P.U.M.A., or Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility vehicle. Now it's the EN-V, which stands for Electric Network Vehicle. G.M. (along with partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) debuted the thing in Shanghai in 2010, then displayed it at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in 2011, and now they're showing it off at auto shows, no doubt hoping to get a lot of buzz going for this two-wheeled wonder, which is supposed to be so loaded with navigation and collision avoidance electronics that you can sleep in it on your way to work. (Please wake us up when we get there, okay?)

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The Chevy Segway Keeps On Rolling (Video)

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  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:00AM (#38817639)

    Could we maybe get a little less talking by the broadcaster and a little more of a look at the damn thing

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      That was what I was hoping for. Why a video at all? All it is is a talking head (which I didn't hear because I keep the sound shut off on this computer) and some STILL pics of the vehicle.

      It looks pretty cool, I wonder what they cost? Probably more than I paid for my car (I never buy cars new).

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        (which I didn't hear because I keep the sound shut off on this computer).

        You're lucky. She's got an annoying grating voice to boot...I've got sound and I turned it off.

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        Yawn.....

        Wake up when they FINALLY get around to producing the Urban Assault Vehicle that I've been waiting for for decades...

        ;)

      • by Idbar (1034346)
        Well, duh! Because without the video we wouldn't have that awesome "robotic" sound at the beginning of the article! /sarcasm
      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Crudely_Indecent (739699) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:00PM (#38819455) Journal

        I had the sound on, but low. She mentioned a price under $10,000, otherwise people would just buy a car.

        Personally, I can foresee a group of these going down the road when one in the lead hits a pothole and does the well-known segway faceplant. Collision avoidance kicks in on the following vehicles - causing them to segway faceplant and it looks like a billiard table. EN-V - corner pocket.

    • Could we maybe get a little less talking by the broadcaster and a little more of a look at the damn thing

      It's a woman. Talking. Most people on here haven't sen that before.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:06AM (#38817675)

    "So now we can spend money on stupid stuff (like segway clones) that were already proven failures by other companies (Segway)." - GM

    No I'm not trolling.
    This is my honest opinion.
    Though their Volt car seems like a decent idea; not sure why it isn't selling better?

    • If you ever been to Shanghai, the first thing this reminds you of is a cycle-less rickshaw (opposed to a horseless carriage). Wacky.

    • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:44AM (#38817959)

      Though their Volt car seems like a decent idea; not sure why it isn't selling better?

      Because they start at like $40 grand and a Prius is $23k. That's a LOT of gas - even the guy at work who has already has solar cells and was going to charge it for "free" couldn't justify the price given the current price of gas.

      (We live in PA, so currently he is allowed to spin his electric meter backwards with the solar cells - that is why "free" is in quotes... it would actually cost him the going rate of electricity.)

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:50AM (#38817997) Homepage Journal

      So now we can spend money on stupid stuff (like segway clones) that were already proven failures by other companies (Segway).

      Segway was a failure because it's too goddamned expensive. Six grand? I only spent ten on my car. When the patents run out and they're a hundred bucks each, everybody will have one.

      The volt isn't selling better for the same reason. A teeny little car that costs more than my full sized sedan did new, has limited range, etc? No thanks. When an electric car costs no more than a gasoline car, they too will sell well.

      The 1% do not understand the 99%. Most of us don't have much money we can afford to waste on expensive toys like segways and electric cars, and those who can buy any damned thing they please can't get their heads around that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The other problem is that the two parallel wheels thing is just pointless. There are electric scooters [nycewheels.com] that do the same thing as a Segway but are way cheaper because they put the wheels one in front of the other.

        • they're not pointless: they give the vehicle self-balancing capability and let it fit into the form factor a person fits in. you can't take a scooter onto a crowded elevator
          • they're not pointless: they give the vehicle self-balancing capability and let it fit into the form factor a person fits in.

            A Segway still has a substantially larger footprint than the rider.

            you can't take a scooter onto a crowded elevator

            You can take a Segway onto on an elevator, but not a crowded elevator, unless you redefine "crowded elevator" to a substantially different meaning than it would usually have when the only thing you were thinking about putting in it were people not mounted on powered vehicl

          • you can't take a scooter onto a crowded elevator

            Then your not trying hard enough.

      • by superdude72 (322167) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @11:15AM (#38818949)

        Segway was a failure because it's too goddamned expensive. Six grand? I only spent ten on my car. When the patents run out and they're a hundred bucks each, everybody will have one.

        Also, many cities--including mine, San Francisco--have banned their use on sidewalks. If I could buy the original Segway for under $2,000 and take it down the sidewalk, it would be a nice way to get around in a dense city with a lot of hills.

      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        More like 99% don't understand economics. Or maybe it's just you.

      • Seriously, you believe the products like the Segway and Volt are priced wrong because "the 1% do not understand the 99%"?

        I'd say that has practically nothing to do with it. What you've generally got here is the realization that our govt. leaders are pushing for environmentally "greener" solutions to energy-related issues, meaning loads of tax subsidies and loans available to those promising to design and deliver such solutions.

        We saw this same thing in the Clinton administration when Bill mandated an electr

      • by StikyPad (445176)

        The 1% do not understand the 99%.

        They understand that people are generally lazy, willfully ignorant, and self interested, which is 90% of what it takes to be successful. The other 10% is either adding value to society by helping people overcome their weaknesses, or else being a dick enough to use people's weaknesses against them. (Not actually mutually exclusive in some cases -- art adds value to society, but the way art is typically marketed probably does not.)

        At any rate, it's a business decision. Auto

      • by rsborg (111459)

        So now we can spend money on stupid stuff (like segway clones) that were already proven failures by other companies (Segway).

        Segway was a failure because it's too goddamned expensive. Six grand? I only spent ten on my car. When the patents run out and they're a hundred bucks each, everybody will have one.

        The volt isn't selling better for the same reason. A teeny little car that costs more than my full sized sedan did new, has limited range, etc? No thanks.

        Amen. This is why the Prius was successful - back in 2004, when they released the 2nd (less dinky looking) version, it was a) the least expensive car that had smart-key tech, bluetooth and nav options and b) a really good deal despite being a hybrid.

        The Prius cost has changed a bit (I priced out a newer model and was amazed by how much more expensive it is now - it's probably at price/value parity - natural considering the brand is firmly established), but the lesson is real: for mass-adoption to occur, pr

    • Though their Volt car seems like a decent idea; not sure why it isn't selling better?

      Because its a fairly new plug-in hybrid that's substantially expensive as many competing hybrids (including, now, plug-in models) from more established brands (e.g., Prius), that is marketed as an "electric car" while at the same time spending a lot of marketing effort to overcome the perception of limitations of electric cars, and that is much more expensive than competitors electric cars (e.g., the Nissan Leaf.)

      If they ha

      • by Smidge204 (605297)

        If you've actually seen any of the TV ads for the Volt, they basically involve the driver/owner being harassed by confused onlookers arguing over whether it's gas or electric, with the owner sheepishly trying to explain that it's both.

        They're terrible ads that leave the viewer confused. I'm sure it's not the only problem but that ain't helping.
        =Smidge=

        • If you've actually seen any of the TV ads for the Volt, they basically involve the driver/owner being harassed by confused onlookers arguing over whether it's gas or electric, with the owner sheepishly trying to explain that it's both.

          They're terrible ads that leave the viewer confused. I'm sure it's not the only problem but that ain't helping.

          Yeah, that's been true of the recent ads, which have (I would guess) made the problem worse: most of the earlier marketing efforts (up to at least right before launch

    • by hitmark (640295)

      My understanding is that Segway "bombed" because law writers could not make heads or tails of it.

      Now if Segway had gone ahead with their Centaur, people may have had a easier time "getting" the whole thing.

    • Though their Volt car seems like a decent idea; not sure why it isn't selling better?

      Some people have an aversion to vehicles that have been reported to "burst into flames".

  • Nothing like watching GM blow its bailout money on this turd.

  • They rolled-over a lot and damaged the driver. (Then the company went bankrupt.)

    • by Whorhay (1319089)
      I did a little googling and couldn't find much about accidents involving Sparrows, do you have any useful citations for that assertion? The main barrier in my eyes to the Sparrow EV line catching on would be the price tag for a single seater. At $30,000 you could just spend twice as much and get a Tesla Model S and still have some spending money left over. Granted I'm comparing an older existing product to a prototype but the Model S even though it's easily twice the value it still appeals to a relatively
      • by Jeng (926980)

        At $30,000 you could just spend twice as much and get a Tesla Model S and still have some spending money left over.

        Um, do you assume that a person who would buy the Sparrow EV would be happy to spend twice as much on a totally different type of EV? And then do you think that someone who would buy the Tesla Model S would think, "damn for half as much I can get that sweet jellybean."?

        The only relationship those two products have are they are electric, and they have wheels. They are not in the same price range, nor do they cater to the same customers. Tesla will not be poaching potential Sparrow owners.

  • by SlipDisc (40657) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:13AM (#38817735) Homepage

    Sarge: May I introduce, our new Light-Reconnaissance vehicle. (Rotating around the new jeep) It has 4-inch Armor Plating; M.A.G. Bumper Suspension; a mounted machine gunner position, and total seating for three. Gentlemen! This is the M12 LRV! I like to call it the 'Warthog'.
            Simmons: Why 'Warthog,' Sir?
            Sarge: Because 'M12 LRV' is too hard to say in conversation, son.
            Grif: No, but, why 'Warthog'? I mean, it doesn't really look like a pig...
            Sarge: Say that again?
            Grif: I think it looks more like a Puma.
            Sarge: What in Sam Hell is a 'Puma'?
            Simmons: Uhh, you mean like the shoe company?
            Grif: No, like a Puma. It's a big cat, like a lion.
            Sarge: You're making that up.
            Grif: I'm telling you, it's a real animal!
            Sarge: Simmons, I want you to poison Grif's next meal.
            Simmons: Yes sir!

  • by GaryOlson (737642) <slashdot&garyolson,org> on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:13AM (#38817737) Journal
    Where's the bamboo handles and the skinny guy to make it go?
  • supposed to be so loaded with navigation and collision avoidance electronics that you can sleep in it on your way to work.

    Whet they need is a way to get you to your desk and into your chair without waking you, making the transition form commute to work entirely seamless.

    • If only there were some way to get a chair and desk installed in your home.. and connect via some kind of communications network to your workplace and/or colleagues to share files. Maybe some way of sending text, audio or even visual communications.. that would be cool. It would save billions of units of currency of fuel each year, not to mention commuting time.

      Of course we just don't have the technology, and probably never will. Why do I torture myself with such dreams?

      • by Bucc5062 (856482)

        Oh, we have the technology. We have everything you describe...and more (btw, I get your point).

        What we lack is the leadership to use it *wisely*. It makes infinite sense (to leadership) to require people to travel to a location where they can reach out and touch you, look at you, know you are there no matter what you are doing. Why at home that worker could be...maybe...reading /., because he or she would never do that at work. The office is preferred to some, the home to others. When a job is suited t

        • by hodet (620484)
          It will happen. Once all the old farts pack their rolodexes and retire. The new generation of management will change this. Telework is just too much to ask the average dinosaur to grasp.
  • by jopet (538074) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:33AM (#38817883) Journal

    the physics of doing an emergency break with two parallel wheels when going 35 mph?

    • Sure, it's simple.

      *CRASH*

      See? Simple.
    • by dr2chase (653338)

      Supposed to work; I recall discussing this with a Segway owner, and pretty much you just lean backwards. How does the Segway keep you from falling backwards? By braking. To stop harder, lean further.

      This assumes both wheels have traction, of course.

      • I do not think that this is compatible with physics for any speed faster than fast walking: the force from decelerating will be so strong that the vehicle will lean forward. There is no way how a human can counter this by just shifting weight (that force is ridiculously small compared to quickly braking a couple of dozen or even hundred pounds of mass down from 35mph to a stop.
        Even if the vehicle could look into the future and would automatically lean back as far as possible before initiating the break, the

    • by Chuckstar (799005)

      On a Segway, you lean forward to accelerate and backwards to brake. The computer senses which way you are leaning and moves the wheels accordingly. For this vehicle, the computer has to control the center of mass, shifting it foward while accelerating and backwards while decelerating (or going in reverse). For an emergency brake, it just shifts the center of gravity really far back. Anit-lock sensors will keep the wheels from locking (which you really, REALLY wouldn't want to have happen in this thing).

  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:34AM (#38817893) Homepage Journal

    They were displaying a prototype of this 2 years ago at the NY Auto Show held at the Javits Center... My friend and I are standing by it, and we're trying to guess how much electronics are crammed into the thing, and my friend says "I'll bet it runs Linux"... So the booth babe next to us turns and says 'No, it runs on electricity!"

    We thanked her for her insightful information, took three steps and then started laughing hysterically.

  • Can't we just have those things from Logan's Run? They looked almost as cool that that network they had where you could hook up for sex (nothing could top that, of course).

  • Solved problem. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by characterZer0 (138196) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:37AM (#38817915)

    The problem of getting a large number of people around in an urban setting was solved more than a hundred years ago.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle [wikipedia.org]

    No reliance on fossil fuels. No recharge time. Takes very little parking space. Extremely maneuverable. Easily moved when broken. Cheap. Easy to repair.

    It does have one fatal flaw - low profit margins.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Very much agree. I've been biking to work for the past 5 years, and I love it. Keeps me fit without having to ever step foot in a gym. First little while it seems like quite a workout, but eventually it becomes just as easy as walking, or even easier. But one correction. I think there's plenty of room for profit margins in bicycles. There's a lot of high end bikes, or bikes aimed at people who like specific styles which cost way more than just the cost of the manufacturing.
    • by swillden (191260)

      It does have one fatal flaw - low profit margins.

      You sure about that? I'm currently shopping for a bike. Right now I have a hybrid that is a little too heavy and inefficient for my commute to work (it's 26 miles each way) so I'm looking for a replacement. I thought about getting a real road bike, but I can't touch anything decent for less than $1500 new. I have found a couple of touring bikes and a couple of cyclocross-style bikes which are probably actually a better choice for my commute, and a little bit cheaper, but only a little bit. The budget I

      • by dr2chase (653338)

        26 miles each way, I think you are looking at an e-assist or an aerodynamic fairing, depending on your route.

        Neither is cheap, which supports your skepticism regarding low profit margins.

        For a rack, it's not cheap, I think the CETMA racks are very pretty and functional, though I don't own one myself.

        And I am not your go-to guy for light bikes -- yesterday's errand was to tow a 40lb bike behind a 65lb cargo bike to get the rear hub rebuilt on the 40lb bike (a legitimate antique, "ALL STEEL", circa-WW2 Raleig

  • The EN-V is perfect. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium.yahoo@com> on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:38AM (#38817923)

    Imaging a fleet of these at bus/train stops for daily rental. In the US, at least, the problem with mass trasportation is getting from one stop to the rest of the destination. I tried to start a business in the Dallas area based on this. The idea is basically, a person pays a monthly subscription rental on an small shuttle electric vehicle. The company provides them with a vehicle like the EN-V at the location where they are dropped by the bus. When they are done, they simply return the vehicle to the stop, get on the bus, and go home. Ironically, the Texans that bitch all of the time about federal regulations, wouldn't let me start the business because of state requirements on vehicle size, liability insurance "path to owner" requirements, and licensing restrictions on who can run a "rental car business". If someone has the investment capital, I can guarantee the Federal incentives and tax cuts on this business alone would be worth getting into.

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:41AM (#38817939)
    i would rather just have a golf cart, at least a golf cart has the room to haul four people, or two people and several bags of groceries or luggage or whatever else you need to haul
  • by flibbidyfloo (451053) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @10:48AM (#38818613)

    At the very end of the video she points out that this model (2nd gen) has no windshield wipers, headlamps, or climate control. But they are looking to add that stuff for the 3rd gen model so it will be "all weather". It seems to me that by the time they add all the crap to it that a normal car has, it won't be any cheaper than buying a SMART car. Sure you can spin it around and park it more easily, but with the range and speed tradeoffs it hardly seems like a good business model.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @10:51AM (#38818637)
    I'm confused, who is the target market for this thing? They do not have the safety features of existing cars, so they cannot be used on the roads with existing cars. The justification for not including standard safety features is that they will never crash because, when every vehicle on the road is one of these, they will talk to each other and know where all the others are. The question is how do we get from where we are, to the place where every vehicle is one of these? Of course, the government and big businesses would love this because they would be able to track your every move.
    • by daid303 (843777)

      Car manufactures are already working on car to car communication (and car to roadside).

      Also, if the government and big business would want to track your vehicles, they already can! We sell the tech for that. It's quite new, but it doesn't even require changes in the current infrastructure as it uses the normal induction loops in the road. It has only a 90-95% detection ratio (less when people are taking corners) but it should be enough to track your habits.
      We are using it to track and optimize your travel t

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      The justification for not including standard safety features is that they will never crash because, when every vehicle on the road is one of these, they will talk to each other and know where all the others are.

      As someone else pointed out, deer, falling rocks, and icebergs tend not to be where expected. "We don't need more lifeboats, she's unsinkable!"

    • by dr2chase (653338)

      There's a lot of safety gained by not going fast, and by not being quite such a large target. Despite the widespread belief that bicycles are deadly-unsafe, per-hour (not per-mile) they're about the same as automobiles. One might guess that there is some frequency-of-brain-fart constant at work here.

      I think the way we get there is that we start deploying the anti-crash and collision sensor stuff now in ordinary cars, and once those are widespread, then cars can get smaller.

      I also think that by the time th

  • Looks like they got their concept from the head of a yellow jacket.

    http://levahnbros.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/yellow-jacket.jpg

  • The name PUMA, it made me think of Red vs Blue

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo7QCC2EDtk
  • Put your ego aside for just a moment, my little slashdotters.

    I doubt that US, CA, UK, AU, NZ, or other Euro countries are the initial target market for the Chevy Segway.

    Have you ever visited high population density cities in China or Taiwan (and Japan to a lesser extent)? If you have, you have also seen the insane scooter deathrace they call normal traffic conditions.
    I found this video on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=P19qFzqBKGs/ [youtube.com]
    Now imagine it's raining. A canopy

  • Sorry, if a vehicle has only two wheels they should be one in front of the other.

    If any new form of vehicle is the future it'll be the half-width car, it will probably be a 3-wheeler though.

    • by Lashat (1041424)

      The original version without the canopy/ferrings looks to have saftey wheels on it. No idea if these made it into the production version.

    • for the vehicle of the future is this [wikipedia.org] what you are thinking of, or might it have been this one [wikipedia.org] of a more recent design?

      As a side note I have an old large tiller that has the same engine as second vehicle listed and is probably from the same era. The tiller has the 12hp engine and still runs great even though it is probably 35 years old.

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