GM, Segway unveil innovative transport
This is not Tampa Bay specific, per se, but it illustrates the type of collaboration and innovative thinking that we should have seen from GM and even the Segway folks long ago. Project PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility) is a joint venture between the two businesses to make a new type of two-wheeled vehicle designed to move easily through congested urban streets. Tampa's WFLA radio morning show chatted with a GM manager about it this morning, and the Wall Street Journal reported on the innovative transportation device (subscription required). The electric vehicle would have a range of 35 miles and cost between a third to a fourth that of a traditional vehicle. (Photo courtesy of Segway.)
My only real question to GM is: Why did you wait until a hair's breadth of Chapter 11 bankruptcy to start showing you have an out-of-the-box innovative streak?
Segway, the two-wheeled gyroscopic-balanced transport that was supposed to revolutionize personal movement -- especially in urban areas -- has some detail about Project PUMA, including video of it on the move. Let's hope there's more success in mainstreaming the new device than Segway had selling its original design which has been largely relegated here to local tours, as the photo shows, starting at the Pier in St. Petersburg. (Photo by John Pendygraft of theSt. Petersburg Times.)
According to GM, cities around the world are actively looking for solutions to alleviate congestion and pollution. Project PUMA addresses those concerns. It combines several technologies demonstrated by GM and Segway, including electric drive and batteries; dynamic stabilization (two-wheel balancing); all-electronic acceleration, steering and braking; vehicle-to-vehicle communications; and autonomous driving and parking.
I say: Bring it on.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist