- There are major innovations occurring all of the time, and game-changing shifts every few years or so. The truly transformative products happen perhaps once or twice in a lifetime; the 20th Century saw the rise of the auto, the computer, and mass communication and entertainment (telephone, radio, television, Internet).
In 2001, Dean Kamen said that his invention “will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy.”
A more (relatively) pragmatic prediction came at the same time, from investor John Doerr: that the Segway company would be the fastest ever to reach $1 billion in sales.
A decade later, that target has not yet been met — I’m not even certain that the company has recouped the $100 million that it spent in development.
Setting an annual sales target of 40,000 was a bit optimistic, considering that fewer than that number have been sold over the course of the decade.
The EN-V Project refers to “a vision for transportation in 2030”. For me, this begs the question: will we have to wait that long to buy one? Will it be longer for one that doesn’t suck? The answer is things are not looking up for Segway, but this form of transportation is still around.
As a perfect example consider my trip to Las Vegas in 2020. The trip was a graduation present from my grandparents. They are huge fans of Las Vegas, having met there in the later 1940’s when the Flamingo Hotel and Golden Nugget casino first started up. They both worked in the Golden Nugget casino and were married in one of the Las Vegas chapels on the strip that are still catering to couples who want to tie the knot immediately. I can’t believe there is still a Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas, but then I learned this is a different casino/ hotel from the one where my grandparents met. The new version of the Golden Nugget which is essentially made up of four towers – the Rush Tower, the Carson Tower, the Gold Tower and the Spa Tower, and opened in late 2009. My grandparents had booked my stay there. Aside from going to shows and doing a bit of gambling, I discovered you can take a guided Segway tour around Las Vegas, itself for 1 or 2 hours, as well as take a hefty 4 hour tour to Red Rock Canyon. There are more Segway tours but those are the two I took. I love hoping on a Segway and zipping around. My folks told me to remember to take bottled water where ever I went. High temperatures and low humidity can be deadly, but I knew that already. So I dutifully drank Las Vegas spring water throughout my trip. I was amazed at how many bottles of water I actually consumed during my stay. The Red Rock Canyon tour was spectacular. The tour started with a complimentary ride from my hotel into Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, about 20 miles west of Las Vegas. The tour itself is more than eight miles (12 km) around the scenic loop, with stops to stretch, take photos, and look for hikers and climbers high above in the red rock formations. I also learned about the history of this breathtaking canyon. I plan to return with friends during my spring break next year to do some camping and hiking in the area.
I’m really missing something important here. For decades, masses of people have recognized that our current transportation system is critically flawed.
The impact of automobile culture has been devastating on many levels, including pollution from emissions, the rape of the natural landscape, and simple issues of congestion. And that’s not even addressing the numerous car accidents that occur on our city and town roadways and highways. Get those big cars off the inner city and town roads! Cars are a menace to the Segway rider. I had a friend who was seriously injured in a collision between her Segway and a careless driver a few years back. The driver was backing out of a side road and seriously rammed into her at a far too fast a speed. Now you may ask: Who do you call in a case of a Segway / car accident. While my friend was recovering in the hospital her father was contacting a car accident lawyer to get some advice as to whether she could sue or just follow through with the insurance claim. It was obvious as to who was at fault. My friend’s father felt that the insurance company’s compensation offer would not adequately compensate for his daughter’s current and potentially future medical costs resulting from those injuries sustained in the Segway /car accident. The car accident lawyer agreed, so my friend sued the other driver with a personal injury suit. Fortunately the car accident lawyer also did personal injury law. Well…I will make this story short. She won her lawsuit and after 2 years of rehab, my friend is back on a Segway!
Anyway, the devastation of our automobile culture has been recognized since this halfway through past century, and yet the debate still drags on…
Exclusive: Segway, the most hyped invention since the Macintosh, ends production
The Segway brand will no longer make its two-wheeled, self-balancing namesake.
Now, less than 20 years after the first Segway’s release, Fast Company has learned that the Segway brand will retire the last Segway as we know it, the Segway PT. Manufacturing at the Bedford, New Hampshire, plant will stop July 15. A total of 21 employees will be laid off as a result, while 12 will stay on temporarily to handle various matters, including warranties and repairs on the Segways that have already been sold. Five employees working on Segway Discovery scooters will remain.
Read more: https://www.fastcompany.com/90517971/exclusive-segway-the-most-hyped-invention-since-the-macintosh-to-end-production