Segway was founded by the renowned inventor Dean Kamen, in the year 1999. However, the firm got its name, only in 2001, when they set up their manufacturing plant in Bedford, New Hampshire, USA. The world saw the Segway scooters for the first time in 2001 on Good Morning America. The common people were, for the first time, introduced to the world of self-balancing transportation.
Did You Know?Segway is derived from the word segue, which means 'to transition smoothly from one state to another'.
Before we start our discussion on the nuances of the product, let us take a glimpse of the scooter, also known as Segway Personal Transporter (PT).
The Segway electric scooter is nothing but a self-balancing, two-wheel personal electric vehicle. The vehicle uses a combination of sensors, control systems, and motor. The balance-control system works in tandem with the motors. Whenever the rider shifts his balance, the vehicle automatically adjusts the forces, to avoid tipping over. This principle is similar to the working of a gyroscope. The gyroscope has a fixed frame with a spinning wheel, which resists any change in axis. The force that is applied to change the axis, also moves in the same direction as the wheel. Thus the axis of motion will never change, and the vehicle will self-balance itself even when you tilt or lean.
The vehicle contains five gyroscopes that detect forward and backward pitch as well as left and right lean. In addition to this, it also has two tilt sensors that measure the angle of tilt, so as to avoid the vehicle from tipping over. The output from these sensors is fed to the microprocessor, which controls the speed of the electric motors (one for each wheel but with a common shaft) and maintains vehicle stability. Each motor is individually powered by Li-ion or NIMH batteries, and has the ability to rotate at speeds that are independent of the other motor. Thus, when the rider turns left, the left wheel will rotate at a slower speed than the right one.
As this is a balancing vehicle, the designers have incorporated additional safety measures to make the entire control mechanism secure against failure. Each component in the system has two to three backup devices. In case any of these fail, there are two sets of microprocessors. Though both work in combination, if one of them fails, the other takes over the entire functions of the failed system. In case of component failure, the malfunction data is identified by a DSP-run algorithm. In this algorithm, if the malfunction data does not match with the original range fed to the processors, a fault signal is issued, and necessary measures are taken to rectify the faults. If you are driving fast and hit a pothole, the vehicle will produce enough torque to keep the rider safe. The principle behind this safety, is to return power to the battery while braking, thus enough torque is produced to keep the rider safe.
Although, initially, the company unveiled only the consumer scooter, they later on developed an entire range of scooters for industrial, security, and robotics platforms. Let us take a closer look at these models.
If you are looking for a personal mode of transportation that will take you from one place to another, quickly, you should opt for the consumer models. They are divided into four categories according to their usage.
▶ Glider: This scooter is ideal if you want to travel to small distances, where driving is not possible.
▶ Commuters: Buy this if you want a vehicle that will travel up to 12.5mph/20kph and also include storage front case.
▶ Hunters: This one should be your choice if you want to go in the woods, hunting! There are three storage cases for storing your hunting gear.
▶ Adventurers: Travelers who wish to ride over river banks, in the woods, go off-road (partly), should buy this scooter.
The success that Segway has achieved in the industrial sector is immense. Along with providing mobility, small cargo transportation is also possible by using their business range of products.
▶ Commercial Cargo: If you wish to move cargo (around 50 pounds in weight) inside your factory, this is the ideal vehicle for you.
▶ Logistics: You can transport small cargo, in the open storage bins or the waterproof case, by using this model.
▶ Logisitcs POWER: In addition to the features present in the Logistics model, this model has a warning horn, tablet/smartphone with USB ports, and rechargeable battery for additional lighting!
There is a special category of vehicles made for patrolling purposes. The i2 model lasts for 38 km in a single charge, while the x2 model can run on rugged terrain. Both models have a patroller bag, integrated lighting system, comfort mats, LED taillight, wireless Infokey controller, charge cable, among others. A perfect vehicle for police and security personnel.
The company recently launched the robotics mobility platform (RMPs) which allows developers to have the best integration of sensors, radios, PCs, manipulators, etc., as per their application. The base models have the basic mobility features, which can be explored and clubbed with advanced intelligent systems to make new products.
Once you decide on buying the bike, or if you already own one, you need to keep in mind few tips that will ensure you ride safely.
▶ Avoid slippery surfaces.
▶ Do not ride on loose objects or materials.
▶ Avoid riding on steep slopes.
▶ Do not ride over steps, obstacles.
▶ Remember to maintain contact with the ground.
▶ Lean forward and shift your weight, to accelerate.
▶ Lean backward along with shift in weight, to stop or slow down.
▶ Ride alone on the Segway, it is designed to do so.
▶ Check the minimum weight requirements before riding.
For more information on riding guides, you can read the Segway document. The Segway PT is an amazing invention in the field of personalized transportation, and is gaining popularity all across the globe. Decide on your needs and buy one for yourself, to enjoy the green benefits! Safe riding!