Well, first there was the original. IT, or Code Name Ginger, was renamed the PT and released at the beginning of December 2001 on the show Good Morning America. Notable features of this product line (e167, i167, i170/180, XT/GT, p133) included sudden unwanted changes of direction that would cause a person to fly off at high speed to certain death…or at least at low speed, to certain embarrassment. This actually happened to a friend of mine. She was seriously injured and ended up applying for social security disability benefits. What a hassle. Just like the approximate 70% of people whose initial social security disability claims get rejected, she submitted a reconsideration request that was also rejected. Since she felt she had a legitimate claim for benefits, she decided to go online and find a social security disability lawyer who could assist her in an appeal hearing. The hearing would have an Administrative Law Judge who would decide whether or not the applicant would be awarded benefits. It was ridiculous. The wait time to get this hearing varies greatly, but she read that it might take over a year to finally have a hearing scheduled. With a social security disability lawyer who understood the whole process, she was able to have her hearing scheduled within 3 months. Her social security disability lawyer organized her whole case with all the necessary documents and then prepped her before the hearing. Her application was approved and she started receiving her benefits shortly there after minus the percentage that her social security disability lawyer took as his fee. She even ended up suing Segway. I’m sure such lawsuits probably didn’t help sales very much.
Segway Inc. was actually sold in 2010, about a year after they’d hooked up with GM to develop the PUMA Project, a fully-enclosed two-seater with many Segway features. This turned into the EN-V, which promises such tantalizing features as GPS crash-avoidance (ultimately driving itself) and integrated social networking so that you’ll be able to more efficiently and stylishly waste time while not driving your vehicle.
Aside from issues regarding folks getting used to the handling requirements (probably not so hard for teens and young adults, possibly a bit more complicated for the middle aged), there are legal considerations when you have a vehicle that can cause harm to property and harm to other humans if things go awry. Don’t want to be seen as a party pooper here, but have these important considerations been made by the powers that be – we think there’s some changes coming from problems we didn’t even realize were associated with something sold to us as simple and safe.
On the plus side, it can actually zoom down the road at a white-knuckle 35mph with a range of about 35 miles (check my math…is that about one hour’s worth at top speed? It would be, if you didn’t use more power at top speed, which you almost certainly will. So this begs the question: how slow do you need to be going to get that 35 mile range, and wouldn’t you be better off walking or biking anyway? Just wondering…).
Segways are a fantastic idea & they have a small chance at changing the way the whole world works. That chance is slim but the idea is not far fetched for those of us with the vision to see it. Imagine a world where everybody have their own personal transportation device. Getting around would be simple & convenient. They are environmentally much more friendly than automobiles & are smaller & more maneuverable so they can go many places a car cannot. Don’t be surprised if soon you see a whole wave of these vehicles hit the road so to speak. Chances are you’ve either used one yourself or at least seen one used & in the future you will see it more & more often.