Think Bengaluru 25 years back and you remember well planned roads, wide open spaces, no traffic and clean air. Fast-forward to today and bang! You spend a fourth of your day just in traffic. As one haplessly stares at the statistic of vehicle growth, one can’t help but wonder if there is a panacea to this problem……
Enter THE SEGWAY
The Segway is a battery-operated, two-wheeled, self-balancing vehicle invented by American entrepreneur Dean Kamen. When Dean Kamen unveiled the Segway on ABC’s Good Morning America; he described the machine as “the world’s first self-balancing human transporter”.
From it’s launch in 2001, Segway has come a long way and has become the leader in personal, green transportation and developing products that transform the way you work, play and live. The Segway represents the next generation of clean personal mobility. It works towards zero-emission personal transportation and its compact nature offers to address the problem of urban congestion.
The Segway has many benefits for you and for the environment – less gas to buy, easier to park, and less wear on your car and most importantly NO NOISE!!! It can also help reduce the impact of global warming by reducing our greenhouse gas output and consumption of imported fossil fuels. After a year on your Segway, you would have literally saved a ton of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere!!!!
Another interesting fact about the Segway is that it can take you places that a car or bicycle can’t – including inside many stores, office buildings, businesses, airports, elevators, and trains. Although they’re ideal for short jaunts, Segways can travel as far as 24 miles/38 km on a single battery charge, depending on the terrain, payload, and riding style. Add to this fact, it is very easy to use. In order to move forward or backward, the rider has to lean slightly forward or backward. To turn left or right, the rider simply moves the LeanSteer frame left or right. You get the sense of power and speed, yet you also feel a sense of safety and absolute control. It all feels natural, safe, and instinctive.
Three popular flavors of the Segway are the Segway i2, the Segway x2, and the Segway x2 Golf.
The Segway i2 is a great way to enjoy the ride while commuting to work, running errands, or just traveling a short distance where a car is more hassle than it’s worth. The Segway i2 has been developed to excel in speed, range, and maneuverability in varied environments. The Segway x2 brings added versatility to your world, offering sturdy capability in rugged off-sidewalk terrains such as trails, bike paths or beach fronts. The Segway x2 Golf package is an innovative, fun and flexible way to play around.
Police and security agencies worldwide are using Segway products to patrol airports, transit stations, manufacturing facilities, shopping malls and campuses.
The most interesting news is that the Segway is set to hit our desi market soon. Segway Inc., maker of the personal transportation devices, plans to start selling the product in India with a tie-up with the Bird Group. The Bird Group has business interests in travel and information technology. We expect the Indian market to be a significant one in the years to come. Initially, Segway plans to enter the Indian market with two base models—the x2 and i2. The i2 is meant for indoor use while the more rugged x2 can be used outdoors. The first Segway showroom in India will be in Gurgaon, with Mumbai and Bangalore to be added to the list later in the year. In the US, the devices retail for between $4,500-5,500, but the company hasn’t decided on how to price its products in India.
The gleeful smiles of Segway riders may have created an impression that this is …well…a toy!!!! But make no mistake. Segway is indeed incredibly fun to ride, however, it is serious transportation designed for today’s world.
SEGWAY Under the Hood
The dynamics of the Segway PT are identical to a classic control problem, the inverted pendulum. The Segway PT (PT is an initialism for personal transporter while the old suffix HT was an initialism for human transporter) has electric motors powered by Valence Technology phosphate-based lithium-ion batteries which can be charged from household current. It balances with the help of dual computers running proprietary software, two tilt sensors, and five gyroscopes (the gyroscopes do not affect the balance; they are merely used as sensors). The servo drive motors rotate the wheels forwards or backwards as needed for balance or propulsion. The rider accelerates or decelerates by leaning forward or backwards in the direction he or she wishes to travel.
Suneeta is an HR professional in a Consulting firm based in Bengaluru. In her spare time, she enjoys writing. Helping out in social activities is also one of her interests.
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